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Google Staff Stage Global Walkout Over Treatment of Sexual Harassment



Thousands of Google employees around the world have organized a series of walkouts on Thursday to protest a workplace culture that they say promotes and protects debtors from sexual harassment at the tech giant.

The organizers of the walkout start in Asia and held at 11:10 local time at Google's offices around the world-issued a letter requiring the company to change its policy to make it safer for women to report instances of sexual harassment and Make the reports more transparent to the entire company.

"There are thousands of us, at all levels of the company," said the letter. "And we've had enough."

Employee activism rises in response to a New York Times article last week, and reported on

Alphabet


GOOGL -0.30%

unit protected three top leaders in the last decades after being charged with sexual default including one as it provided a $ 90 million exit package in 201

4. Google refused to comment on the Times story.

  Google employees arrange an exit at the company's British headquarters in London.

Google Staff Staging a walkout at the company's British headquarters in London.


Photo:

Tolga Akmen / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

Photographs of walkouts flooded social media on Thursday when Google employees filled the streets outside offices from Mumbai to Dublin.

Shortly after kl. 11 on Thursday in New York, three people of Google employees were admitted by glass doors at the Company's office in Lower Manhattan.

They gathered in nearby Hudson River Park and used signs with slogans such as "Labor Rights is Women's Rights."

Google employee Demma Rodriguez-38 years old and one of the organizers the crowd that workers wanted the technology company to live up to its potential as "the trust of the minds in the world."

"I'm sorry," she said through a bullhorn. "… Every single person here has the tools to change Google."

An organizer estimated that there were more than 1500 Google employees at New York's protest. The New York office has more than 8000 workers.

Demonstrators filed out of the park at noon. They finished rally-chanting, "Time is up. Time is out. Time is up."

The biggest driveway is expected on Google's main campus in Mountain View, California, later on Thursday.

In a note to the staff on Tuesday, CEO Sundar Pichai asked for the company's earlier actions and said that he is obliged to take "a more severe line of inappropriate behavior". He said the company has fired 48 employees for sexual harassment over the last two years. Tekniggiganten has more than 80,000 employees worldwide.

In their letter, employees require Google to remove its mandatory arbitration clauses from employment contracts, a widespread but controversial practice that prevents US workers from suing their employer in open court. Companies prefer arbitration for sexually harassment requirements because they tend to lead to faster settlements at a lower cost than club-suits and can save companies from bad publicity.

  Workers who go out of Google's offices in New York. "Title =" Workers who go out of Google's offices in New York. "/> </div>
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          <span class= Workers who go out of Google's offices in New York.


Photo:

jeenah moon / Reuters

In the wake of the # MeToo movement, companies have come under greater public pressure to scrape arbitration policy, "said Steve Smith, communications director of the California Labor Federation, an umbrella group for government unions. "Companies definitely see that this is bad for their image," said Mr. Smith.

Uber Technologies Inc. and

Microsoft
Corp.

both stopped claiming arbitration for sexually related demands in the past year.

On Google, where employees this year have protested against the company's work with the US Department of Defense and its controversial plan to explore a censored search engine for Chinese citizens, the company's sexual harassment policy has now reached a boiling point.

In New York, Laura Rikita – a 31 year old and a software engineer who has been working with Google for three years, she said she was surprised and angry after reading a new New York Times article describing how the company has treated sexual harassment requirements. She said that she went out on Thursday to encourage changes in the company and to support colleagues.

"When the article came out last week about some unfortunate events that happened in the past, many Googlers were not happy with that," said Rikita, "We'll see a difference in the future." [19659004] Thomas Kneeland, a software developer from Google, said it is a feeling among colleagues that they work in a special place with a mission to "change the world," he said. But he realized that there was "widespread frustration and deep seated anger" in the ranks.

"We can be exceptional in the future," said Kneeland. "It remains to be seen how."

Write to Douglas MacMillan at douglas.macmillan@wsj.com and Ezequiel Minaya at ezequiel.minaya@wsj.com


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