Thousands of Google employees and engineers from around the world walked off the job on November 1st. The staff members of the world-renowned company marched off site to protest against the way Google handles workplace harassment, inequality, and executives accused of sexual misconduct.
The walkouts were planned for 11:10 am across varying time zones and started in Asian counties. Both protestors and supporters were using the hashtag #GoogleWalkout on social media to post their photos and messages. There was even a Twitter account created that was directly related to the walkout — @GoogleWalkout.
Google employees were seen taking their stand in Tokyo, Zurich, Singapore, Berlin, Israel, London, and Haifa first. As 11:10 am moved west, so did the protest. Western walkouts were seen in Massachusetts, New York City, Toronto, Montreal, San Francisco, and the icing on the cake; Google’s company headquarters in Mountain View, California.
The protest, billed as “Walkout for Real Change,” was timed to unfold and capture public attention one week after the New York Times posted a story that went into detail of the sexual misconduct allegations against Andy Rubin, the creator of the Android software. The report stated that Google received approximately $90 million US in severance in 2014, even though Google concluded that all allegations were credible. Andy Rubin has since denied the allegations via a tweet, and stated the story is inaccurate.
The same story also detailed the sexual misconduct allegations against Richard DeVaul, the director at a Google-affiliated lab responsible for the self-driving vehicles. However, Google confirmed on Wednesday that DeVaul resigned from his position on Tuesday without severance.
Despite the best efforts of Google’s executives who claim the company has cracked down on harassment and sexual misconduct since Rubin’s departure, employees remain unconvinced. The walkout is a clear sign that a large portion of Google’s employees feel that the company needs to do more, and stick to the Alphabet Inc. edict that urges all staff to “do the right thing.”
Silicon Valley congresswoman Jackie Speier posted a tweet to showcase her support of the Google walkout with the MeToo hashtag. Speier stated that she was standing with hundreds of Google engineers that planned the women’s strike in protest.