In Brief

Google employees stage walkout over sexual harassment claims

Around 1,500 workers are expected to take part in the protests

Google employees around the world are planning a walkout today in protest over the company’s handling of recent sexual harassment claims. 

According to the BBC, the employees are “demanding several key changes” in how the search giant deals with sexual misconduct allegations. 

The changes include bringing an end to “forced arbitration”, which the broadcaster says would allow victims to sue the company.

The walkout comes in the wake of a report by The New York Times last week, which found that the creator of Google’s Android mobile system, Andy Rubin, had been given a $90m (£70m) pay-off to remain silent after an employee lodged a sexual harassment claim against him in 2014. 

This was followed by a company statement, posted by Buzzfeed’s Ryan Mac on Twitter, that said it found the article “difficult to read” and vowed to “review every single complaint about sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct”.

An “all-hands” meeting was held between Google’s workers and management to discuss the situation, but this “failed to quench employees’ outrage”, The Daily Telegraph reports. 

This led to the proposal of a “women’s walk”, which “gained hundreds of votes” on the company’s internal social network, the newspaper adds. 

Despite friction between employees and the company’s management, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai told CNN that workers “will have the support they need” if they choose to participate in the march. 

“Employees have raised constructive ideas for how we can improve our policies and our processes going forward,” he said, adding that the company is “taking in all their feedback so we can turn these ideas into action”.

Organisers are expecting around 1,500 people to participate in the walkout, which is already under way in parts of Asia, The Verge notes. “Employees are using the hashtag #GoogleWalkout,” the tech site adds.

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