On Thursday at 11 a.m. in their respective time zones, Google employees walked out of their workplaces to register protest against the way the company handled the sexual harassment/assault allegations brought up against their colleagues. What provoked them into this was an article in The New York Times a week ago, which revealed that Google had paid millions of dollars to some of the accused in severance packages, while remaining silent about the accusations against them. This includes Andy Rubin, the creator of Android, who was paid $90 million as a parting gesture. The charges were leveled against him years before and an inside investigation had found him guilty. Yet, instead of firing him then, the company allowed him to continue and gave him protection. This is just one such instance.
At 11 a.m. on Thursday, employees walked out of work at Googles offices in Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Hyderabad (India), Berlin, Zurich, London, Dublin, New York and many other places. One participant in London told CNN that they walk out in support of all those who are harassed in their workplaces. It is also to ensure that the perpetrators are not rewarded and protected, he added. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google said in an all-staff email that he understood the anger and the disappointment the employees feel. He said that he feels the same and is committed to making progress in an issue that has persisted in society and at Google too.
The participants in the campaign have made a list of five demands. These include an end to Forced Arbitration in harassment and discrimination cases and an end to pay and opportunity inequity. (Forced Arbitration is a contract clause common in many businesses that demands internal settlement of disputes, without resorting to courts and similar institutions.) Also, they demand a publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report and a clear and uniform process for reporting sexual aggression safely and anonymously. The last one is about getting access to the CEO and the Board of Directors through the Chief Diversity Officer and a representative of the employees.