NEW YORK ― Google employees around the globe staged a walkout Thursday to protest the tech giant's handling of sexual harassment, prompted by a bombshell New York Times report last week that Google quietly offered several high-profile executives lucrative exit packages after they were accused of sexual misconduct.
In Manhattan, Google employees walked out of the Meatpacking District headquarters minutes ago.
It also alleged that Google protected two other unnamed executives accused of sexual misconduct, removing one with a severance package while retaining another. "The Instagram bio reads, "#GoogleWalkout 11/1 11:10am to protest sexual harassment, misconduct, lack of transparency, and workplace culture not working for all". One hot button issue for employees was Google's decision to pay a $90 million severance over a four-year period to Andy Rubin, the creator of Android mobile software.
Among other things, Mr Pichai and Ms Naughton disclosed that Google had fired 48 employees, including 13 senior managers, for sexual harassment in recent years without providing severance packages. Appoint an Employee Rep to the Board.
Now, Google workers from the company's Mountain View HQ have begun walking out of the building in what appears to be the largest walkouts seen so far.
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I reached out to the company for comment and will update this post if I hear back.
Sam Singer, a spokesman for Rubin, rejected the allegations against him in a statement to AFP, saying Rubin left Google of his own accord.
Meanwhile, Pichai was also asked about the perception that Google employees drive big decisions at the company, like involvement with military contracts. The edit concluded that, "This breaking of silence around the abuse of women by men in positions of power is heartening, given the suffering-be it day-to-day harassment, or extreme cases such as the horrific Nirbhaya case-that women have endured historically in India". In some places, they used megaphones to express support for victims of sexual harassment.
Many Google employees were reluctant to speak to the press because they were advised not to.
The group has called on Google to elevate the position of Chief Diversity Officer so that they can answer directly to the CEO and make recommendations to the Board of Directors.
Pichai indicated that Google wouldn't interfere with protest plans and would ensure that "you have the support you need".