Yesterday (Thursday), thousands of Google employees staged a walk-out worldwide protesting against sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace and unequal pay gap. Another main reason for the protests was Google’s AI ties to the Pentagon. At a recently held conference in New York, Pichai claimed
We don’t run the company by referendum. There are many good things about giving employees a lot of voice, out of that we have done well. The internal dynamics may appear chaotic to outsiders, but they’re not as intense as some have characterized them to be.
If the claims by the New York Times are to be believed, Android creator Andy Rubin was paid $ 90 million in payouts after being fired after allegations of sexual misconduct by an employee. While Google still maintains that it doesn’t offer payouts to people who were fired over sexual harassment cases.
Some of the important demands of the protesters were – An end to Forced Arbitration in cases of Harassment and Discrimination; A publicly disclosed Sexual Harassment transparency report; A clear, uniform and a globally inclusive process of reporting sexual misconduct anonymously and And a commitment to end Pay Gap and opportunity inequality. It would be interesting to see how Google would respond to these demands. While modification of laws for the sexual harassment concerns is very much plausible given substantial proofs over such incidents, there are no strong statistical facts to support the pay gap claims.
People were seen carrying signs that said “Stand up for Google women”, “Act now for our future”, “Women’s rights are workers’ rights” and“Not OK, Google!” The movement also gained momentum in India as well where over 150 employees walked out from three of the Google offices in India – Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Gurugram.