November 1st marks the first of many waves of Google employee walkouts. The first took place in Japan this afternoon, and thousands more are predicted to accompany the movement in the near future. These walkouts have been spurred by complaints of unequally, directly related to the treatment of sexism complaints , overextension of power within the company’s work force, as well as racism. Organizers have called for the addition of an employee representative to the company’s board of directors. A request has also been made regarding the transparency of the company’s pay-equality data. Efforts are being put into changing how Googles HR department handles harassment claims in an attempt at bringing more attention and fair action toward issues affecting employees.
Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai has stated “employees have raised constructive ideas” and the company was “taking in all thier feedback so we can turn these ideas into action”.
The dissatisfaction of Googles employees and contractors not only has caused a stir in the news, it has also affected company shares. The company’s parent company, Alphabet, is predicted to struggle with employee recruitment and retention amidst the movement.
Last week the New York Times reported that allegedly in 2014 Google granted a $90 million exit package to the then-senior vice president Andy Rubin, who had been accused of sexual harassment. These claims have been denied by Rubin. Google has not responded to the accusations.
The movement has spurred a plethora of efforts for Google to “increase diversity, improve treatment of women and minorities and ensure the company upholds its motto of “don’t be evil” as it expands”.
“While Google has championed the language of diversity and inclusion, substantive actions to address systemic racism, increase equity, and stop sexual harassment have been few and far between,” organisers stated. They said Google must publicly report its sexual harassment statistics and end forced arbitration in harassment cases. In addition, they asked that the chief diversity officer be able to directly advise the board”