Google Faces Internal Backlash Over Handling of Sexual Harassment

Google Faces Internal Backlash Over Handling of Sexual Harassment

The meeting did little to quell the anger. On Friday, Ms. Stapleton said, she created an internal mailing list to organize a walkout. More than 200 employees joined over the weekend, she said, and the numbers have since grown to more than 1,500.

On Tuesday, Richard DeVaul, one of the Alphabet executives who The Times revealed was accused of harassment, resigned from the company. He did not receive an exit package, according to a company spokeswoman.

That same day, Mr. Pichai sent an apologetic email to employees saying he would support this week’s protest. He said that some workers had already raised constructive ideas of how to improve policies around harassment and that he hoped to “turn these ideas into action,” according to the email, which was obtained by The Times.

Employees organizing the walkout have called on Google to end the practice of private arbitration — which requires people to waive their right to sue and often includes confidentiality agreements — in cases of sexual assault and harassment. They also are demanding publication of a transparency report on instances of sexual harassment, more disclosure of salaries and compensation, an employee representative on the company’s board and a chief diversity officer who could make recommendations directly to the board.

Other employees said they were disappointed that senior executives such as David C. Drummond, Alphabet’s chief legal officer, who had a child with a female subordinate, and Mr. Brin, who had a public extramarital relationship with an employee, remained in influential positions. Some raised questions about whether it was appropriate for Eric Schmidt, the company’s former chief executive and chairman, to remain on Alphabet’s board after former and current employees said he had retained a mistress as a company consultant.

Thursday’s walkout is set to begin in Google’s Tokyo office and then circle the globe, with employees leaving work around 11 a.m. in their time zones, Ms. Stapleton said. People can choose whether or not to return to work, she said.

“While Google has championed the language of diversity and inclusion, substantive actions to address systemic racism, increase equity and stop sexual harassment have been few and far between. ENOUGH,” organizers of the walkout wrote on an internal website, which was viewed by The Times. “Time’s up at Google.”

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