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Silicon Valley

Google employees are staging global walkouts over the firm’s treatment of women

November 1, 2018

Members of Google’s staff in over 20 offices around the world are walking out today to protest the company’s treatment of women.

Forced arbitration: Anger over how sexual misconduct allegations are handled at the tech giant has boiled over. The employees are particularly unhappy about the use of forced arbitration, which means victims forgo their right to sue.

Why now? A series of scandalous sexual misconduct cases have emerged in the press over recent days. Andy Rubin, who created the Android operating system, was paid $90 million when he left the firm in 2014, despite a “credible” allegation of sexual misconduct. On Tuesday another executive, Richard DeVaul, resigned. He’s alleged to have made unwanted advances toward a woman he was seeking to hire.

The five demands:

·         An end to forced arbitration in harassment and discrimination cases.

·         A commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity.

·         A publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report.

·         A clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously.

·         A commitment to elevate the chief diversity officer to answer to the CEO and make recommendations to the board of directors, and to appoint an employee representative to the board.

The CEO’s response: Sundar Pichai has said he supports the employees’ right to take action. “I understand the anger and disappointment that many of you feel,” he wrote in an e-mail to staff, adding that he is “fully committed” to making progress on the issue. Google has sacked 48 other employees for sexual harassment in the last two years, he said.

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