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Google employees walk out in protest of sexual harassment

At offices around the world, Google employees staged a walkout to protest the company’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations. The walkout followed a report in The New York Times that revealed the company gave Android creator Andy Rubin a $90 million exit package, after claims he committed sexual assault proved credible.

In New York City, protesters gathered at Hudson River Park and overflowed the park’s capacity.

Harassment and misconduct alleged to be common

The Times also revealed several other senior executives were accused of sexual misconduct, but given millions of dollars after being let go. Google had no legal obligation to pay the men. The company also never publicly outed any of them.

Rubin was accused of coercing a woman he was having an affair with into performing sex acts. Another executive stood accused of groping a woman at an off-site work event. At the company known for its motto “don’t be evil,” numerous other accusations of harassment and misconduct have surfaced.

Executives apologized for the company’s behavior

Google stated it fired 48 people for sexual harassment within the last two years, and none received a severance package. CEO Sundar Pichai and co-founder Larry Page also issued apologies for the missteps.

Protesters want transparency and new policies

Protesters accused the company of using the language of diversity and inclusion, while doing little to foster pay equity, address racism and prevent sexual harassment. Only 31 percent of the Google workforce are women, and just 26 percent of its executives. The protesters want more transparency regarding sexual harassment and discrimination allegations. They also asked that Google end its policy of forced arbitration, which prevents employees from pursuing discrimination cases in court.

It is not the first time the company faced criticism for lack of diversity. Last August, a memo written by a Google engineer surfaced, which stated there were less women in tech due to biological differences. Though the man was fired, it raised many questions about the tech giant’s hiring practices.

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