Published: Sat, November 03, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Google Canada Employees Stage Walkout Over Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Google Canada Employees Stage Walkout Over Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Employees walked out from their jobs to protest and ask for change to Google's handling of sexual harassment allegations.

The letter was in response to a New York Times report that Android creator Andy Rubin received a $90 million exit package despite facing misconduct allegations. The organizers hope this protest will draw attention to the issue and improve workplace safety and equality. Meanwhile, regular employees who are harassed allegedly have little recourse against powerful higher-ups.

Other protests took place in Singapore, Zurich, London, Tokyo, Berlin and NY.

Thursday's protest will be a test of how effectively Pichai has managed to placate staff anger over the issue. It's about to be a lot more, too. An employee representative must be appointed to the Board, they said.

I reached out to the company for comment and will update this post if I hear back. On Tuesday another executive, Richard DeVaul, resigned.

Pichai apologised for the company's "past actions" in an email sent to employees this week.

Google said last week that it had fired 48 employees in the past two years - including 13 senior executives - as a result of such allegations, citing "an increasingly hard line" on inappropriate conduct.

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Pichai indicated that Google wouldn't interfere with protest plans and would ensure that "you have the support you need".

Protestors are calling on Google's parent company Alphabet Inc to share pay equity data internally and to make its process for dealing with harassment claims fairer.

"Moments like this show that we didn't always get it right, so we have committed to do things better", he said.

The walkouts are the latest indications of employee dissatisfaction that escalated last week after the New York Times reported the internet giant paid millions of dollars in severance pay to male executives accused of harassment without disclosing their wrongful acts.

"Although it's not necessarily something that's happened to me, I understand that this is something that is real and has impacted so many lives", said associate account strategist Brandon McGhee. "But in reality we're not even meeting the basics of respect, justice, and fairness for every single person here", said Claire Stephenson, a Google product manager to the Times. Google did not dispute the report.

Mr Pichai said in a statement: "We are taking in all their feedback so we can turn these ideas into action".

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