Google Employees Stage Global Walkout In Protest Of Company's Response To Sexual Misconduct

Employees are demanding "an end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination."

Google employees organized a global walkout on Thursday in protest of how the company has dealt in sexual harassment cases over the years.

The demonstration follows a report from The New York Times that found two senior executives received multi-million dollar severance packages after allegations of sexual misconduct. A third executive reportedly didn't get fired, but resigned on Tuesday, just days after the article's publication.

The report has sparked widespread backlash from employees over Google's handling of these cases and the overall lack of transparency in the company. According to The New York Times, hundreds of staff members around the world are planned to walk out of their Google offices at 11:10 a.m. local time, calling for change to corporate policies regarding harassment and discrimination.  

In total, organizers of the walkout were reportedly expecting more than 1,500 people to take part in almost two dozen Google offices around the world. People have already been seen protesting at the company's offices in London, Zurich, New York, and Dublin. According to CNN, about 150 Google employees in India also participated in the walkouts. Demonstrations have also taken place in the company's offices in Singapore and Tokyo.


"As the recent article and the executive response make clear, these problems go all the way to the top," organizers of the walkout said in a statement. "While Google has championed the language of diversity and inclusion, substantive actions to address systemic racism, increase equity, and stop sexual harassment have been few and far between."

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has issued multiple responses to the New York Times report. On the day of its publication, he and vice president of people operations Eileen Naughton sent a company-wide email stating that Google is "dead serious" about providing "a safe and inclusive workplace" for employees. The email also stated that 48 people have been fired for sexual misconduct over the past two years, all without pay.

In a statement to CNN on Wednesday, Pichai also expressed support for the global walkout, saying, "Employees have raised constructive ideas for how we can improve our policies and our processes going forward. We are taking in all their feedback so we can turn these ideas into action."

Pictures of the worldwide demonstrations are already being spread on social media. A Twitter account named @GoogleWalkout started posting images Thursday of employees at Google offices worldwide participating in the walkout, including London, Dublin and Singapore.

According to the account, employees are demanding an "end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination," an end to "pay and opportunity inequality" and a "clear, unfiorm, globally inclusive process" for reporting sexual conduct.

As Sam Dutton, a developer advocate at Google, told CNN in London, "We're walking out in support of those who've been harassed anywhere in the workplace, and to ensure that perpetrators are not rewarded and are not protected."

Cover image via TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images.


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