More than 200 Google workers are planning a walkout on Thursday to protest the recent revelations about the company’s protection of sexual harassers. The organizers have a list of requests for the company to consider to help anyone affected by sexual harassment or power dynamics at work, Bloomberg reports.
The New York Times report released last week detailed how Andy Rubin, who joined Google (GOOGL) in 2005 with the acquisition of Android, was given a $90 million payout to quietly leave the company in 2014 after a worker accused him of coercing her into performing oral sex in a hotel room in 2013.
Google didn’t deny the story’s substance to the Times. CEO Sundar Pichai and HR chief Eileen Naughton told employees in email afterward that 48 people, including 13 senior managers, have been fired in the past two years for sexual harassment. None of them, they said, had received an “exit package” payment. Google also updated its policies to require all vice presidents and senior vice presidents to disclose any relationship with a co-worker regardless of reporting line or presence of conflict.
Over the weekend, employees in a group for women engineers began upvoting a post on an internal forum about organizing a walkout. By Monday morning, that post had hundreds of upvotes, Buzzfeed reports, and the Google employees who planned to participate numbered more than 200.
“Personally, I’m furious,” a Google employee who requested anonymity told Buzzfeed. “I feel like there’s a pattern of powerful men getting away with awful behavior towards women at Google‚ or if they don’t get away with it, they get a slap on the wrist, or they get sent away with a golden parachute, like Andy Rubin. And it’s a leadership of mostly men making the decisions about what kind of consequences to give, or not give.”
Rubin denies the allegations:
The aftermath of the Times report is especially felt at Alphabet: X, the experimental “moonshot factory” charged with creating new, futuristic lines of business, Slate says, because one of the accused executives, Richard DeVaul, is still employed there.
“There’s an increasing sense that Larry [Page] and Sergey [Brin] may be the problem,” an anonymous source from X told Slate, speaking to a culture of impunity for men who initiate interoffice relationships with women working under them. “I don’t think they’re abusers, but they’ve sheltered them. They clearly think there’s some amount of value they’re getting out of these men that outweighs the women they’re preying on.”