On November 1, 2018, more than 20,000 Google employees walked out of their offices to protest the company’s handling of sexual harassment claims. The event dubbed #GoogleWalkout is being hailed as a cultural watershed moment, but do you know why? Here’s a look into the event and how it could not only change Google, but the entire work culture of Silicon Valley.
Why Have a #GoogleWalkout?
The story of the Google walkout starts on October 25, 2018. That’s when the New York Times revealed that Android co-creator Andy Rubin was paid $90 million when he resigned from Google. The executive had been accused of sexual harassment, and after an investigation proved the accusations were credible, Google still paid the executive upon his departure. The Times report also went on to outline how Rubin wasn’t the only employee accused of sexual harassment who was paid upon their exit.
How Did This Protest Affect Workers Across California?
This report sparked outrage among many Google employees. They claim that such behavior is typical for the tech giant, and so these employees rallied together to do something about it. Using social media, these employees organized a massive event where employees voiced their stories. Despite Google revealing it had fired 48 people with no exit-packages for sexual harassment, these employees exposed that the problem is deep and systemic.
This method of speaking out is now being hailed as a blueprint for corporate protests. In a matter of days, organizers were able to mobilize thousands of workers across the globe, create a list of demands and act. Now, Google has been forced to respond, and it’s not wasting time.
Did #GoogleWalkout Actually Cause Change?
A week after 20,000 employees walked out to protest the company’s methods for handling sexual harassment, Google announced that there will be changes. Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the company will provide more transparency when it comes to workplace incidents. It will be updating its sexual harassment training, providing a dedicated site to report sexual harassment and assault at the company, and it will make arbitration optional for victims.
Now that one of the largest tech companies in the world has taken steps to correct its culture of sexual harassment, will others follow the example? Now that arbitration is optional, do you think Google employees with start filing harassment claims in court? Our harassment and retaliation attorneys will continue to watch these developments to see how they will affect your legal rights. If you have any questions about your own employment issues, don’t hesitate to call (310) 499-0140 for a free case evaluation.
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Source: Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani LLP