Thousands of Google employees took to the streets around the world in the Google “Walkout for Real Change.”
The employees and contractors protested the technology giant’s handling of executives accused of sexual harassment. In the most blaring case, Android creator Andy Rubin received a $90 million-dollar severance package in 2014. However, this was after an investigation into sexual misconduct by him concluded that the allegations were credible. In another case, an executive kept his position for years with no consequences after admitting to an “error of judgement.” The “error” involved questionable behavior towards a woman who was interviewing for a position as his subordinate. He resigned without severance on October 30th.
Staff who participated in the walkout reportedly left a note on their desk. The note read: “I’m not at my desk because I’m walking out with other Googlers and contractors to protect sexual harassment, misconduct, lack of transparency, and a workplace culture that’s not working for everyone.”
The walkout included employees in London, Dublin, Zurich, Tokyo and Singapore. Google and its parent company employ around 94,000 people. Thousands of them stood against the company for telling employees to do the right thing while they themselves don’t.
The Google Walkout Demands
The Twitter account @googlewalkout is documenting the walkout live. According to the account, the employees and contractors demand “five real changes:
- An end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination.
- A commitment to end pay and opportunity inequality.
- A publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report.
- A clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously.
- Elevate the Chief Diversity Officer to answer directly to the CEO and make recommendations directly to the Board of Directors. In addition, appoint an Employee Representative to the Board.”
Yes, with 94,000 employees, Google is far from the type of business that Paradise supports. However, all the attention that sexual harassment and its consequences is receiving should be a wake up call to every business owner. The fact that thousands of employees resorted to walking out of their jobs to get upper management to listen to them is a sad state. In addition, the so-called “demands” the employees seek show the importance of managers and owners paying attention to the work culture and walking the talk. They’re not asking for money, time off, better benefits, etc. They simply want to work in an environment where people are treated fairly, and that the rules are applied to everyone regardless of their position.
Sexual harassment is a serious issue for all businesses, regardless of size. As always, please contact Paradise if you have questions or concerns about sexual harassment in your workplace.