Thousands of Employees Worldwide Protest Google’s Handling of Sexual Harassment
The Google Walkout on November 1, 2018 in protest of sexual harassment was a worldwide event. The largest gathering of protesters, numbering in the thousands, occurred in Silicon Valley, California where Google Headquarters is located.
In addition, The New York Times reported that workers protested internationally in Singapore, Hyderabad, Berlin, Zurich, London, Chicago and Seattle, to name a few locations. New York also had a large number of protesters. An estimated 3,000 people gathered to protest in a city park.
Since the #Metoo movement began a year ago, sexual harassment has topped the list in anti-discrimination movements. A number of states have passed stricter laws to prohibit sexual harassment, and New York has passed the most stringent sexual harassment training laws in the nation.
What Was the Main Protest Focus in the Google Walkout?
The New York Times published an article on Oct 25, 2018 about the resignation of the creator of Android software, Andy Rubin in 2014. At that time, he left Google with a $90 million exit package and no public disclosure of sexual misconduct.
Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai and Larry Page, co-founder of Google and the chief executive of the parent company, Alphabet issued apologies. According to a Wall Street Journal article on the walkout, Pichai stated that Google no longer makes payouts to employees who are dismissed due to sexual harassment. He also stated, “Moments like this show we didn’t always get it right. We are listening to employees, which is why today is important.”
Another point of contention among the protesters was Google’s mandatory arbitration requirement in employee contracts. Employees who were protesting submitted a letter to the company that stated they wanted Google to remove mandatory arbitration and allow sexual harassment lawsuits, the way the Microsoft Co. and Uber had done during the past year.
A letter to the CEO also requested that the board of directors include an employee representative and that Google’s Chief Diversity Officer report directly to the CEO.
Google has been known for its open relationship with employees where debate is encouraged and employees enjoy many perks that come with their jobs.
Do You Have Questions about Employment Law?
Having anti-sexual harassment policies in place has become vitally important for employers in many different industries and countries around the world.
If you have questions, our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates are glad to advise regarding your concerns.