Google staff in mass walkout over sexual misconduct claims

Google staff in offices across the world have staged a walkout to protest sexual misconduct alongside a number of complaints about inequality at the company


Google staff across the globe have walked out of their office on November 1 to protest the company's treatment of women.

Staff in London, Berlin, Tokyo, Singapore and Zurich joined the protest, demanding changes to how sexual misconduct allegations are handled by the company. One of the key things protestors are demanding is the end to forced arbitration, which would allow victims of sexual assault to sue.

Other issues being protested are pay inequality and better representation for workers.

Those joining in the walk-out left notes on their desks, stating that they are "walking out in solidarity with other Googlers and contractors to protest sexual harassment, misconduct, lack of transparency, and a workplace culture that's not working for everyone".

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The move has received the support of leaders at the tech giant.

"I understand the anger and disappointment that many of you feel," Sundar Pichai, chief executive at Google, said in an all-staff email. "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."

The five full demands given by those organizing the walkout were:

  1. An end to Forced Arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination for all current and future employees.
  2. A commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity.
  3. A publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report.
  4. A clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously.
  5. Elevate the chief diversity officer to answer directly to the CEO and make recommendations directly to the board of directors. Appoint an employee rep to the board.

The protest follows a New York Times story detailing sexual misconduct allegations against Android software creator, Andy Rubin, claiming that he received a $90m severance package in 2014 even though Google concluded the allegations were credible.

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