Thousands of Google staffers across the world are walking off the job Thursday in protest of the tech giant’s handling of sexual misconduct at the company.
The protest, called “Walkout for Real Change,” comes after a New York Times report that Google gave Android creator Andy Rubin a $90 million severance fee in 2014 when he left the company, all while hiding that he had been accused of sexual misconduct — a claim the company found to be credible following an investigation. Rubin has denied the allegation.
Google workers, from Singapore to Switzerland, started walking out of the office at 11:10 a.m. in their respective time zones. Here’s what to know about the Google protest.
Google employees are demanding the company change how it deals with sexual misconduct claims
Demands from staffers include an end to forced arbitration in harassment and discrimination cases, a commitment to ending pay inequality, a public sexual harassment transparency report and establishing a clear process for reporting sexual misconduct anonymously.
Congresswoman Jackie Spier, who represents California’s 14th District, shared her support for those who walked out in a tweet using the #MeToo hashtag.
The protest kicked off in Singapore and is continuing around the world
Google employees were seen walking out in Singapore and across Europe, including in London, Dublin, Berlin and Zurich.
Google employees have left flyers explaining why they’re walking out at their empty desks
The flyers say, “I’m not at my desk because I’m 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. I’ll be back at my desk later.”
Google leadership has apologized
Google CEO Sundar Pichai has apologized for the company’s “past actions,” according to an email sent to employees on Tuesday.
“I understand the anger and disappointment that many of you feel,” he wrote. “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.”
Pichai said in an email last week that Google had fired 48 employees, including 13 senior managers, for sexual harassment without giving them severance pay.