Sexual harassment isn’t a joke and sexual harassers should be punished for engaging in the abhorrent behavior. Last week it was revealed that Google fired many employees, including senior management, for sexual harassment. Among those accused and fired sexual harassers was Android creator Andy Rubin. Reports state that Rubin was given a $90 million golden parachute for leaving Google. Rubin says those reports are “wild exaggerations” and also denies the allegations made against him.
1/2 The New York Times story contains numerous inaccuracies about my employment at Google and wild exaggerations about my compensation. Specifically, I never coerced a woman to have sex in a hotel room. These false allegations are part of a smear campaign
— Andy Rubin (@Arubin) October 26, 2018
Now, 200+ Google employees plan on staging a walkout on Thursday to protest how Google has handled the sexual harassers as well as sexual harassment in the workplace. According to Fortune (as reported by Bloomberg and Buzzfeed), the organizers of the group have a list of requests for Google to consider. The New York Times broke the story on Andy Rubin in which they claim Rubin was given a $90 million payout to leave the company quietly. According to the Times, a Google employee accused Rubin of coercing her into performaing oral sex in a hotel room in 2013. An allegation Rubin denies.
Google didn’t deny the story’s substance to the Times. CEO Sundar Pichai and HR chief Eileen Naughton told employees in email afterward that 48 people, including 13 senior managers, have been fired in the past two years for sexual harassment. None of them, they said, had received an “exit package” payment. Google also updated its policies to require all vice presidents and senior vice presidents to disclose any relationship with a co-worker regardless of reporting line or presence of conflict.
Over the weekend, employees in a group for women engineers began upvoting a post on an internal forum about organizing a walkout. By Monday morning, that post had hundreds of upvotes, Buzzfeed reports, and the Google employees who planned to participate numbered more than 200.
“Personally, I’m furious,” a Google employee who requested anonymity told Buzzfeed. “I feel like there’s a pattern of powerful men getting away with awful behavior towards women at Google‚ or if they don’t get away with it, they get a slap on the wrist, or they get sent away with a golden parachute, like Andy Rubin. And it’s a leadership of mostly men making the decisions about what kind of consequences to give, or not give.”
All of this sexual harassers news is hitting just as Google is trying to market its new Google Pixel phones and new Night Sight camera tech. Thursday’s Google employee walkout is certainly going to take some of the wind out of those sails. It will be interesting to see how Google deals with this and what their response will be.