#GoogleWalkout

Republished with permission from Pressed News an Evio Community Partner

google walkout.jpg

You may have caught this hashtag online last week. Hundreds of Google employees walked off the job yesterday to protest sexism, workplace harassment, and inequality. Starting in Asia and heading west, Google engineers and other employees planned walkouts at exactly 11:10 a.m. in major cities, including Tokyo, London, Singapore, NYC, Toronto, and at the company’s HQ in Mountain View, California.

Why now? 

Employees aren’t happy with how the company has handled recent sexual misconduct allegations. The women in Silicon Valley are joining the growing list of workers in business, politics, and entertainment who are saying I’m over it’ to the boy’s club mentality. The last straw came after a scathing New York Times reportrevealed that Google had protected male executives facing sexual misconduct allegations and even sent them off with parting gifts, sometimes worth millions of dollars. The article also accused Richard DeVaul, a director at Google’s parent company, Alphabet, of sexually harassing a female job applicant. DeVaul resignedTuesday without pay. Workers laid out a list of demands that include an end to forced arbitration (resolving a dispute outside of court), and a clear and safe way to report sexual misconduct.

Now What?

After more than 20,000 Google employees around the world participated in a mass walkout in protest of the company’s handling of sexual harassment, Google said it would overhaul its policies. The protests were sparked by a New York Times article that revealed that Google had given a senior exec a $90-million severance package despite credible accusations against him of sexual harassment. Yesterday, Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, said the company was “sincerely sorry” for favouring and protecting top-level execs who were guilty of bad behaviour. To address this, Google is expanding mandatory sexual harassment training, offering more support to those who make claims of harassment, and providing more transparency on reported incidents. More importantly, the company is ending forced arbitration, the practice of forcing employees to settle disputes instead of heading to court.

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