Google employees walk out in solidarity with anti-harassment drive

The tech corporation is facing its own #MeToo. But can droves of staff leaving their desks prompt Google to take sexual misconduct seriously?

Lydia Morrish
Lydia Morrish NewsMavens, United Kingdom
Google employees walk out in solidarity with anti-harassment drive - NewsMavens
Google Headquarters, London

Why this story matters:

It was power to the people at Google offices around the world, as employees of the tech giant stopped working and walked out in an internal backlash against an alleged culture of toleration of harassment.

Dozens walked out of London’s Google Office in a show of solidarity with those that have left their desks at the company's offices around the globe.

Staff in Google's other European bases including Zurich, Berlin and Dublin also joined the demonstration.

The New York Times revealed last week that Google had paid millions of dollars in exit packages to male executives accused of harassment. Andy Rubin, known as the “creator” of the Android mobile operating system, received a $90 million payout after Google found credible claims of misconduct against him. Rubin denies the allegations.

Some of Google's 94,000-person workforce saw the payout and silence about allegations against Rubin as a sign the company doesn't take harassment seriously. In fact, it appeared it was rewarding him. Whether the demonstration will forge "real change" -- as protesters hope -- will depend on Google's next moves. Watch closely.

Details from the story:

  • A Twitter account called @googlewalkout is documenting a movement against sexual harassment at Google's global offices which has seen thousands of staff worldwide walk out.
  • Google staff in Zurich, London, Tokyo, Singapore and Berlin were among those taking part in the walk-out.
  • Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said he supports employees' rights to take action.
  • In an email statement sent to staff, he said: "I understand the anger and disappointment that many of you feel. I feel it as well, and I am fully committed to making progress on an issue that has persisted for far too long in our society… and, yes, here at Google, too."
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