Across the world today, Google employees participated in a walkout to protest the management's handling of sexual harassment and gender inequity at the company.
What was expected to be a small walkout of a few hundred turned out to be massive event with thousands of employees taking part. The organizers curated a list of rather specific demands focused on improving the culture via policies aimed at transparency and inclusivity.
The demands made by the organizers include ending forced arbitration, particularly for civil rights and sexual harassment claims, as well as ending the gender inequity in pay and opportunity. Additionally, the walkout seeks to force Google to publicly disclose a report on prior sexual harassment claims and to revise the process by which complaints are handled. And lastly, it is demanded the company promote the Chief Diversity Officer so that they report directly to the CEO and the Board, and that a new seat be created on the Board for an employee representative.
What Led to the #GoogleWalkout
According to the reports out this morning, the walkout is a response to the company's continued failure to treat women equally, and its repeatedly providing bad actors within the management golden parachutes and second chances despite credible/substantiated allegations of sexual harassment.
Most notably, and a major sticking point for the organizers, is the rumored $90 million payout to Andy Rubin, the creator of the Android mobile operating system, after Google's own investigation found allegations of sexual harassment to be credible. Another major sticking point is the lack of diverse women in leadership.
Fortunately for Google, the walkout doesn't seem to be a full-fledged strike that'll go on for days or weeks on end, but rather just a publicity stunt to raise awareness (which is what most protests are anyway). And raise awareness, the #GoogleWalkout certainly did, as social media sites were all lighting up with photos and messages of support for the thousands of Google employees protesting their working conditions.