Google employees around the world are calling for sweeping changes in how the company handles sexual harassment and discrimination.
Employees walked out of their offices on Thursday in a coordinated protest over what they call a “destructive culture” at the company. They are demanding five main changes, according to a post on an Instagram account dedicated to the walkout.
Google employees say they want: An end to forced arbitration in harassment and discrimination cases; a commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity; a sexual harassment transparency report disclosed to the public; a clear inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously; and for the chief diversity officer to report directly to the CEO and make recommendations to the board of directors, as well as the appointment of an employee representative to the board.
The walkout was prompted by a New York Times investigation last week, which detailed years of sexual harassment allegations, multimillion-dollar severance packages for executives accused of misconduct, and little transparency over the cases.
In an op-ed for New York Magazine on Thursday, the seven core organizers said Google employees “demand an end to the sexual harassment, discrimination, and the systemic racism that fuel this destructive culture.”
“The [New York Times] article provided a narrow window into a culture we, as Google employees, know well. These stories are our stories. We share them in hushed tones to trusted peers, friends, and partners. There are thousands of us, at every level of the company. And we’ve had enough,” they wrote.
One of the author’s of the piece, Celie O’Neil-Hart, told reporters outside the Mountain View protest she was proud of the response from employees.”We’re really representing a movement at Google for a long time,” she said. “We do feel heard, yes. We look forward to action.”
The op-ed also included more details about their five demands to company leadership.
For example, the organizers said Google should ensure there are women of color at all levels of the company.
“This must be accompanied by transparent data on the gender, race and ethnicity compensation gap, across both level and years of industry experience, accessible to all Google and Alphabet employees and contractors,” they added.
Meanwhile, the public sexual harassment transparency report should include information such as the number of harassment claims at the company over time and in which product area, as well as any exit packages and their value.
The organizers also said the current process for reporting sexual misconduct is not working.
“HRs’ performance is assessed by senior management and directors, forcing them to put management’s interests ahead of employees reporting harassment and discrimination,” they wrote.
On Thursday, Google employees around the world walked out of their offices at 11:10 a.m. local time. Demonstrations were occurring in various cities including New York, London, Singapore, Berlin, Tokyo and Zurich.
Rachel Metz contributed to this report.