Thousands of Google employees leave work to protest treatment of women

CHELSEA, Manhattan — From London to New York and everywhere in between, thousands of Google employees walked out of their offices around the world Thursday.

The protest follows a New York Times report that revealed Google paid millions of dollars to top executives as exit packages after they were accused of sexual harassment. The company reportedly stayed quiet about the accusations. The report prompted many women at Google to share their own stories of inequality inside the company.

"Just all sorts of things that we've experienced in the category of feeling less than respected, less than equal, less than worthy to be in this environment," said employee Clair Stapleton. "Even at a wonderful progressive company like Google, that's the case."

The group posted their demands on Twitter, outlining five main points including:

  • an end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination
  • an end to pay and opportunity inequity
  • a publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report
  • a new process for reporting sexual misconduct
  • an elevated position for the chief diversity officers as well as an employee representative on the board.

"In speaking for myself, I wanted to demonstrate that there are many people, including me, who care very much about integrity and integrity to our core values around respect," said employee Demma Rodriguez.

Google responded to the New York Times report, saying 48 people had been fired for sexual harassment over the past two years. The company also said none of them received compensation. Many of the employees participating in the walkout said they received support from senior management within the company.

"They've created the space for us to do this," said Stapleton. "Many senior executives sent emails to our team saying if you want to take part, you do it."

Employees say they also received support from colleagues around the tech industry. Now they're hoping their actions will have ripple effects that produce justice, fairness, and accountability for all.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.