Hundreds of employees at Google's office in Chicago quit Thursday morning, protesting that the technology giant's allegations of sexual misconduct are being reported.
The visit to the company's Midwest headquarters in Chicago's Fulton Market area has been aligned with similar protests at Google's offices around the world. Workers left in London, Tokyo, Singapore and Dublin. The Associated Press reported that about 1,000 employees participated in San Francisco, along with hundreds in New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts. In some cases, they used megaphones to express their support for the victims of sexual harassment. In others, they stayed indoors, gathering in lobby or meeting rooms.
In Chicago, a crowd of more than 200 Google workers flooded outside the office and on the sidewalk just after 11am. Some people brought coffee and chatted with colleagues and others threw signs saying "I will not be idle", OK, Google "and" Time up, tech. "
Workers responded to a New York Times report last week that Google gave Android developer Andy Rubin a $ 90 million exit package when he left the company in 2014 after complaints of sexual abuse. Rubin denies parts of the Times story.
The story also covered alleged allegations of sexual abuse by other executives, such as Richard DeVaul, director of Google's X workshop, which was the starting point for projects such as self-driving cars. DeVaul resigned on Tuesday without layoffs, according to published reports.
Three Chicago workers, who said they were organizing the local retreat, spoke of why they participated. They asked Google to implement a process for employees to anonymously report sexual harassment, create and publicly publish a report on sexual harassment in the company, and ensure equal pay and opportunities for women, amongst other claims. Almost 31% of the company's employees worldwide are women, according to its annual report on diversity.
"Women's rights are workers' rights," said one of the organizers, Asher Kach, to the crowd. "It is important for us to fight for these issues at work and elsewhere."
She read the story of an anonymous colleague who claimed to have been sexually harassed by a manager. Several other employees went in front of the crowd to tell their stories.
Workers returned to the office less than an hour after the step.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement Wednesday that the company was aware of the plans to withdraw and the participating workers would have the support they needed.
"Employees have put constructive ideas on how we can improve our policies and our processes forward," Pichai said in the statement. "We get all their feedback so we can turn these ideas into action."
Google spokesperson Kayla Conti refused to comment further.
The Bloomberg News reported that Pichai and Eileen Naughton, Vice President of Human Business, sent an email to employees last week to ensure that the company is "deadly" to create a "safe and inclusive workplace." pay for sexual misconduct over the past two years, according to Bloomberg.
Thursday's intervention was the latest in a series of protests by Google employees. Hundreds of employees signed a letter in August demanding more transparency about the moral implications of their work after Google decided to create a censored search engine for China. Last spring, officials signed a protest letter on Google's involvement in a Pentagon Artificial Intelligence program.
Local organizers told the public on Thursday that Chicago was one of Google's first offices to begin an excursion, following the lead of employees at Mountain View, California's headquarters.
The company employs about 1,000 people in Chicago and its local presence is growing. He confirmed last week that he plans to add more office space next year. When the company opened an outpost in Chicago in 2000, it was a sales office. Now employ software, hardware and cloud engineers, financial professionals, lawyers, accountants and more.
Last month, Google opened an upcoming store in Bucktown, the world's first retail store in Chicago for the company. Tribune said the company is planning a retail flagship near the Fulton Market office, but Google has refused to comment on these plans.
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