Staff members at Google offices around the world have staged a series of walkouts in protest of the company’s unfair treatment of women.
After seeing how cases of sexual misconduct have recently been handled at the company, Google employees protested in Singapore, Zurich, London, Tokyo, Berlin, and New York.
A recent New York Times article has outraged company employees; the article discusses Google executive Andy Rubin being paid a $90 million exit package, despite claims of workplace sexual misconduct against him.
Another executive, Richard DeVaul, resigned after a woman who recently interviewed for a position claimed that he made unwanted advances towards her. DeVaul described this as “an error of judgement.”
In addition to the handling of cases of sexual harassment within the company, Google is also under fire for pay discrimination. A group of women have filed a lawsuit against Google that alleges the company “segregates” women into lower-paid positions and pays women less than men for the same positions.
In response to this claim, Google stated that pay inequality does not exist within the company, since they have a system in place to ensure women receive equal pay for their work.
On the day of the Google employees protest, members who participated each left the following note in their workspace: “I’m not at my desk because I’m walking out with other Googlers and contractors to protest sexual harassment, misconduct, lack of transparency, and a workplace culture that’s not working for everyone.”
Google employees have comprised the following list to communicate what they are seeking from the company:
- A commitment to end pay and opportunity inequality.
- A publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report.
- A clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously.
- The elevation of the chief diversity officer to answer directly to the CEO, and make recommendations directly to the board of directors.
- The appointment of an employee representative to the board.
- An end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination for all current and future employees.
Forced arbitration is the process of dealing with issues such as sexual misconduct within a company, as opposed to taking them to the courts. The critics of forced arbitration describe it as “used to not only protect the reputations of both the company and the accused, but also to silence victims who are unable to appeal against decisions or take further action.”
Google chief executive, Sundar Pichai, has stated that he supports the actions employees have taken: “I understand the anger and disappointment that many of you feel. I feel it as well, and I am fully committed to making progress on an issue that has persisted for far too long in our society… and, yes, here at Google, too.”
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