In an unprecedented first for the tech industry, Google employees across the globe staged walkouts – in London, Dublin, Montreal, Singapore, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and Cambridge.
The demonstrations were triggered by a New York Times investigation that revealed that Android co-creator Andy Rubin had received a $90 million payout, in spite of the fact that credible sexual assault allegations were made against him. Google employees took to the streets to protest the company’s handling of sexual harassment in the workplace.
The protestors have five key principles that they are calling on Google to enact:
- An end to Forced Arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination.
- A commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity.
- A publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report.
- A clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously.
- Elevate the Chief Diversity Officer to answer directly to the CEO and make recommendations directly to the Board of Directors. And appoint an Employee Representative to the Board.
— Richard Nieva (@richardjnieva) November 1, 2018
Cathay Bi, one of the walkout organizers, an employee who works in San Francisco, explained why she helped organize the event:
I experienced sexual harassment at Google and I didn’t feel safe talking about it. That feeling of not being safe is why I’m out here today. I’d love it if everyone felt safe talking about it.
There were many times over the course of the last 24 hours that I emailed the group and said “I’m not doing this because I’m scared,” but that fear is something everyone else feels. I said to myself last night, “I hope I still have a career in Silicon Valley after this.”
How Google responds to the protests could set a precedent for tech companies, which, up until this point, have not had to deal with discontented workers on this level.