Unite demanded Google take action to deal with “thousands” sexual harassment claims, as staff around the world staged walkouts over the company’s response to the issue.
Thousands of Google employees in London, New York, San Francisco, Zurich, Berlin, Delhi and Tokyo protested against sexual harassment allegations that go “all the way to the top” of the global firm.
Unite, which has been representing a growing number of Google staff in London for the last six months, called on the firm to reform its procedures for sexual misconduct claims.
The walkouts came after a New York Times investigation detailed years of sexual harassment claims against senior bosses as well as multimillion pound severance payments and company protection for accused executives.
The protest organisers say the cases exposed by the New York Times are simply the most high profile from “thousands” of similar claims throughout the multinational company.
Many employees who participated in the walkout left a flyer at their desk that read, “I’m not at my desk because I’m walking out in solidarity with other Googlers and contractors to protest sexual harassment, misconduct, lack of transparency and a workplace culture that’s not working for everyone.”
Unite national officer for the IT sector Louisa Bull lauded the “principled stand” taken by Google workers in London and elsewhere over how the company tackles allegations of sexual harassment.
She said, “The employees are rightly demanding key changes in how sexual misconduct allegations are dealt with at the tech giant, including a call to end forced arbitration — a move which would make it possible for victims to sue.
“You can see in the last year that there is a growing wave of disgust generally, as more and more cases of sexual harassment come to light in workplaces across the globe and Unite will assist all those wishing to shine a light on such unacceptable workplace practices.”