MeToo: Google Employees Walked Out By the Thousands

Outrage over Andy Rubin’s $90 million payout questioned company core values and diversity.

Jayme S. Ganey

A recent New York Times report that said Google gave millions of dollars to some executives, like Andy Rubin ($90 million) in secret exit packages after they were accused of sexual misconduct.

The report sparked outrage among employees who organized via social media and yesterday walked out of offices around the world by the thousands.

Zurich, Dublin, Singapore, London and Hyderabad, India, and multiple U.S offices participated in the Google Walkout For Real Change.

In New York, where 3,000 employees walked out, Demma Rodriguez, a leader of the ERG, Black Googler Network, said if Google doesn’t have a culture of equality for women, minorities and people with disabilities, “that means the company is failing everyone.”

“We will bring the consequences,” she said.

Google’s Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai, who heads an executive leadership team that is predominantly white and male, and Eileen Naughton, vice president of people operations, said in an email memo that they are taking an “increasingly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority.”

They said that Google had fired 48 people, including 13 senior managers, without pay for sexual misconduct over the past two years.

But saying something and doing something, especially from the top down, are two different things.

In DiversityInc’s analysis of Google, the efforts to help women and minorities feel supported in their workplace is surface level. Their site is well crafted with diversity and inclusion messages, but the reflection in leadership and in workforce representation has been stagnant for years.

Black workforce representation, at 2 percent, has remained static for four years. Representation of Hispanics (4 percent) and women (31 percent) each increased by 1 percentage point from 2014 to 2017. Over that timespan, representation of Asians (35 percent) increased by 5 percentage points. Note that Black, Latino and Asian representation are U.S. only, and representation of women is global.

Representation in leadership went up by 1 percentage point over four years for Blacks (2 percent) and Latinos (2 percent), while representation of women (25 percent) and Asians (27 percent) went up by 4 percentage points each. We don’t know how Google defines leadership, but the pool is much smaller than the workforce. So, a 4 percentage-point increase may just be one person.

Not to mention the department of labor’s accusations of discriminating against female employees, their lawyers saying investigating a gender pay gap was too expensive, and little and very late response to a misogynistic memo circulated by an employee who was fired a year after the incident.

You can’t get diverse peoples in your door if your culture stench is hypocrisy. They have never participated in DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity competition.

Employees chastised the company slogan “Don’t Be Evil” and held signs saying things like: “Time’s Up”, “Don’t be evil, protect victims, not harassers,” and “What do I do at Google? I work hard every day so the company can afford $90,000,000 payouts to execs who sexually harass my co-workers.”

Some changes the employee movement is calling for include: end forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination; a “transparent and inclusive process” for reporting sexual misconduct “safely and anonymously;” the chief diversity officer should answer directly to the CEO and make recommendations to the board; a commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity.

Leave a Reply