Kirkland employees protest sexual misconduct in Google walkout

Google’s Kirkland campus took part in the worldwide protest of sexual misconduct within the company.

Google Kirkland employees streamed out of their office the morning of Nov. 1 with signs reading “Believe Women” and “Times Up Google,” demanding more transparent, effective handling of sexual misconduct within the company.

Hundreds of local employees — both at the company’s Kirkland and Seattle locations — participated in the worldwide Google walkout to protest how the tech giant protected executives accused of sexual misconduct, including Android mobile software creator, Andy Rubin. The New York Times reported Sunday that three Google executives, including Rubin, were accused of sexual misconduct and protected by Google within the past decade.

Specifically, Rubin received a “hero’s farewell” and a $90 million exit package in 2014 while his sexual misconduct was left unmentioned, The New York Times reported. According to the article, Rubin was accused of coercing a female employee into performing oral sex in a hotel room during an extramarital affair with her in 2013.

Rubin denied the accusations on Sunday, claiming the allegations are “part of a smear campaign to disparage [him] during a divorce and custody battle.”

Google found the allegations to be credible.

Amit Singhal, a senior vice president, received similar treatment after he was accused of groping a female employee at an off-site event in 2015, all detailed in The Times article. The third harasser named in the exposé, Rich DeVaul, an executive of Alphabet’s X division, was allowed to stay at Google’s parent company, but resigned Oct. 30 in light of the article.

According to multiple reports, this was only the latest of numerous mishandled sexual misconduct incidents in which Google dismissed victims in favor of the harassers who abused their power.

Thousands of Google employees participated in the protest in support of women’s rights and reform within the company. Organizers at the Kirkland walkout read aloud stories of harassment and discrimination.

The protesters made several demands including an end to forced arbitration in harassment and discrimination cases and the ability for employees to bring a colleague or supporter to human resources meetings; the end of pay and opportunity inequality, specifically to ensure there are women of color at every level and a transparent data report of the gender, race and ethnicity compensation gap; a public sexual harassment report detailing the number of claims, types of claims, how many accusers and accused employees have left the company and any exit package values; an improved sexual misconduct reporting system for all employees to feel safe and anonymous; and the company’s diversity chief to report directly to the CEO and have direct input to the board of the directors as well as an employee representative appointed to the board who will work with the diversity chief to allocate permanent resources and achieve these demands.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai responded to The Times article on Tuesday in an internal email obtained by Axios.

“I am deeply sorry for the past actions and the pain they have caused employees,” Pichai wrote. “If even one person experiences Google the way the New York Times article described, we are not the company we aspire to be.”

He added that Google has terminated 48 people, including 13 who were at senior manager and higher positions, for sexual harassment over the past two years.

“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,” Pichai wrote. “Some of you have raised very constructive ideas for how we can improve our policies and our processes going forward. I am taking in all your feedback so we can turn these ideas into action. We will have more to share soon.”

[flipp]

More in News

Sarah Abdullah is a pharmacist who left Iraq as a refugee. She joined the Welcome Back Center at Highline College and is now only two tests away from gaining Washington state certification to practice her trade. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Recredentialed: Barriers face Washington’s immigrant, refugee professionals

Even with degrees from abroad, it can be difficult for many to get certified in the state.

If passed, Senate Bill 6254 would limit the nicotine concentration of vape products, ban certain flavoring chemicals and require vape manufacturers, distributors and retailers to obtain licenses from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. File photo
Lawmakers propose sweeping regulations for vaping industry

Bill supporters cite concerns over health issues and teen use.

A screenshot of Mercer Island’s new Winter Storm Ready webpage on its Let’s Talk Mercer Island website.
New Mercer Island city webpage houses storm info

Emergency alerts, updates, links.

Alan Roach and his dog, Roxie, reunited in their new apartment. Natalie DeFord/staff photo
Al’s new apartment, a community effort

Mercer Islanders give housewares, furniture to formerly homeless man and his dog.

Courtesy photo
                                Elliot Newman (left) receives his MIYFS Family Inspirational Award from Mayor Wong on Jan. 7.
Elliot Newman receives 2019 Flash Family Inspirational Award

It was standing room only at the Jan. 7 city council meeting when Newman received his award.

A proposal by Senate Democrats would require concealed pistol license applicants in Washington state to complete a safety course. File photo
Democrats seek firearm training requirement for concealed carriers

Republican senator calls proposal ‘unconstitutional.’

Snohomish County man is first U.S. case of new coronavirus

A man in his 30s was hospitalized in Everett after contracting the virus during a trip to China.

Matt Marshall, leader of the Washington Three Percenters gun rights group, addresses a crowd rallying for Second Amendment rights Jan. 17 at the state Capitol in Olympia. Marshall condemned Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, which expelled Rep. Matt Shea from the Republican Caucus. Marshall announced his candidacy for the 2nd District seat held by House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox. Photo by Cameron Sheppard, WNPA News Service
Gun rights advocates rally at Capitol

Criticism levied at Matt Shea investigation, Republican leadership.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (center) announced a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in a press conference Jan. 2. Debbie Warfield of Everett (left) lost her son to a heroin overdose in 2012. Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki (right) lost her son to an overdose of OxyContin in 2017. They are joined by Rep. Lauren Davis of Shoreline (second from right), founder of the Washington Recovery Alliance. (TVW screenshot)
AG Bob Ferguson talks lawsuits, gun control

Washington state Attorney General stopped by Sound Publishing’s Kirkland office.

Most Read