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Google faces employee complaints

by Courtney Deeren - Copy Editor
Tue, Apr 30th 2019 10:40 pm

With Olympic-sized swimming pools, soundproof sleep pods for napping and rooftop gardens, most people think working in a Google office would be a dream. However, that dream is not so for everyone, with many women claiming to have faced sexual harassment within the company.

According to Telegraph, thousands of employees across the world staged walkouts in protest. London, Zurich, Dublin, Haifa, Tokyo, Singapore and its Silicon Valley headquarters staff, with the support of management, planned the protests. This was sparked by a post on Google's internal social network suggesting a "women's walk" that garnered hundreds of votes. One employee, Meirav Rotsten, said: “we’re here to collectively stand up and say ‘No, no more, not here.’”

Employees stood on a makeshift stage and shared their own personal tales of sexual harassment in their own workspace. One organizer of the march shared her story.

“I experienced sexual harassment at Google [and] I did not feel safe talking about it,” Cathay Bi said. “That feeling of not being safe is why we are here today."

These protests were in response to allegations that senior executive, Andy Rubin, got a $90 million pay-off when he left Google in 2014 following a sexual harassment accusation. Rubin, however, has called those accusations false.

According to NPR, Claire Stapleton, a New York-based marketing manager for YouTube was one of the core organizers of the walk out.

"We've always been told that Google is a leading-edge company, that our culture is something really special,” Stapleton said. “And in that way, we totally have the space to walk out and do this today." But we also see some very real changes that need to happen."

Stapleton also said the event isn’t just about women but about people of color, contractors and other staff who have experienced “feeling diminished or disrespected, have experienced feeling unsafe.”

NPR also reported the organizers are calling for an “end to forced arbitration, a commitment from the company to end inequities in pay and opportunity, a publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report, and a safe and anonymous process for reporting sexual misconduct at Google.”

Apparently, the information about Rubin’s payout was published in a New York Times article which has helped kick off the movement. In light of this, 48 other employees have been fired for sexual harassment with no payout.

With a huge tech company like Google standing with their employees in an attempt to make a better and safer work environment maybe we can finally start making strides to pay equity and workplace safety for all employees.

According to The New York Times, a Google employee who helped organize the walkout addressed a crowd of her colleagues in New York. “I am here because what you read in The New York Times are a small sampling of the thousands of stories we all have,” Meredith Whittaker said. Whittaker also called out the company’s “pattern of unethical and thoughtless decision-making.”

Whitaker's words highlight a problem that has been long coming. The scales have been tipped in the favor of men for too long in the workplace. Both with the wage gap and the sexual harassment many women face, things must be balanced out. Furthermore, those allowing these inequalities to happen must be held accountable.

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