TECH BITE: Google staff across the world are abandoning their desks in protest of sexual misconduct

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Google employees around the world began abandoning their desks at 11 a.m. in their respective time zones on Thursday to protest the company’s handling of sexual-misconduct allegations.

Thousands of workers were expected to stage a 10-minute walkout under a campaign dubbed “Google Walkout For Real Change.”

The protest follows an explosive report in The New York Times last week detailing Google’s response to accusations of misconduct by senior executives and Google’s subsequent acknowledgment that it fired 48 people for sexual harassment over the past two years.

Twitter and Instagram accounts have sprung up this week posting pictures of and information about the protest, which is being observed at Google offices around the world. Here is the Singapore office walking out:

Google walkout Google walkout/Twitter

Google’s office in Zurich also staged a mass walkout. A software engineer named Danila Sinopalnikov posted the below picture of the gathered crowd.

Google walkoutDanila Sinopalnikov

Below was the scene in London.

Google walkout LondonGoogle Walkout

The Business Insider reporter Shona Ghosh was at Google’s St Giles Street offices in London. An employee taking part told her: “I’m proud that we’re now supporting everyone, and hopefully now gives them a voice which most seem to feel they have not had before.”

The employees have a list of five demands for change. Here they are in the campaign’s own words:

  1. An end to Forced Arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination for all current and future employees.
  2. A commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity.
  3. A publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report.
  4. A clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously.
  5. Elevate the Chief Diversity Officer to answer directly to the CEO and make recommendations directly to the Board of Directors. Appoint an Employee Rep to the Board.

Many Googlers have voiced their support for the protest on social media, with some indicating their plan to participate. They have used the hashtag #GoogleWalkout.

“I’m walking out tomorrow with thousands of my coworkers because I believe it’s past time for this abuse to stop,” an engineer named Amr Gaber said on Twitter. “It’s clear neither government nor business leaders will fix this on their own. We have to do this ourselves y’all.”

In a comment to The New York Times, the YouTube product marketing manager Claire Stapleton said: “Google’s famous for its culture. But in reality we’re not even meeting the basics of respect, justice, and fairness for every single person here.”

Larry Page
Larry Page, the CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

In a statement to Business Insider, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said management supported the protest. He said:

“We let Googlers know that we are aware of the activities planned for Thursday and that employees will have the support they need if they wish to participate.

 

*This story actually appeared in Business Insider

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