Thursday 19 September 2019

Google staff in Dublin join international walkout in protest over sexual harassment claims

Hundreds of Google workers protest outside the company's offices in Dublin 4. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Hundreds of Google workers protest outside the company's offices in Dublin 4. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Staff at Google's European headquarters in Dublin joined their international colleagues in a coordinated walk-out today, protesting claims over claims of sexual harassment and gender inequality.

The protest follows allegations of sexual misconduct which were made against senior executives published in a New York Times piece last week, and organisers of the demonstration say those are the most high-profile examples of "thousands" of similar cases across the company.

Hundreds of Google workers protest outside the company's offices in Dublin 4. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Hundreds of Google workers protest outside the company's offices in Dublin 4. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Hundreds of Google workers protest outside the company's offices in Dublin 4. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Google employees at its European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, join others from around the world walking out of their offices Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

"As Google workers, we were disgusted by the details of the recent New York Times article, which provided the latest example of a culture of complicity, dismissiveness, and support for perpetrators in the face of sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse of power," organisers said in a press release.

“Sadly, this is part of a longstanding pattern, one further amplified by systemic racism,” organisers said in a press release.

Employees who protested were encouraged to leave a flyer at their desk with the statement, "I'm not at my desk because I’m walking out in solidarity with other Googlers and contractors to protest [against] sexual harassment, misconduct, lack of transparency, and a workplace culture that’s not working for everyone."

These cases are conducted by private arbitration, meaning those making complaints are required to sign non-disclosure agreements are forgo their right to sue the company.

Demonstrations took place around the world, and are expected to take place all day across time zones. In Dublin, workers walked out between 11am to noon.

The Google Dublin “Walkout for Real Change” organiser told the crowd that they were walking out “in solidarity with anybody who has experienced any form of sexual harassment or misconduct in our workplace.”

“While I have not personally experienced any form of sexual harassment or misconduct at Google, I wish to create a space for all of us here to gather together and show our support for doing whatever it takes to eliminate any such awful behaviour.”

“I stand here today as an ally to anybody who has suffered, anyone who is suffering or anyone who may suffer such unacceptable treatment.”

Last week, the New York Times reported that Google fired 48 employees, including 13 senior executives, paying them millions of dollars in exit packages, as a result of sexual harassment allegations. The company said they fired 48 people over the last two years, none of whom received an exit package.

Richard DeVaul, a director at a unit of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, resigned from the company on Tuesday after he was accused of sexually harassing a female job applicant.

Android creator Andy Rubin left Google in 2014 with a $90m golden parachute, one of three executives the company is accused of protecting and supporting after being accused of sexual misconduct, according to the New York Times.

“For every story in the New York Times, there are thousands more, at every level of the company. Most have not been told,” added organisers.

Rubin denied any allegations of misconduct and said the figure was over-inflated.

When asked about the cases, Google's Vice President for People Operations Eileen Naughton said they take all complaints seriously.

“We investigate and take action, including termination,” she said in a statement. “In recent years, we’ve taken a particularly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority. We’re working hard to keep improving how we handle this type of behavior.”

Google employs more than 7,000 people in Ireland.

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