Google employees have demanded Alphabet to add an employee representative to its board of directors and internally share pay-equity data.
In order to receive support for their demand, hundreds of Google employees and contractors in Asia staged walkouts on Thursday, amid complaints of sexism, racism and unchecked executive power in their workplace, Reuters reported.
Thousands of Google employees are expected to conduct protests at global offices. Google has more than 94,000 employees as on September 30, 2018. Google last week confirmed the termination of around 150 employees including senior managers due to sexual harassment complaints.
The organizers asked for changes to Google’s human resources practices intended to make bringing harassment claims a fairer process.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement that employees have raised constructive ideas and that the company was taking in all their feedback so we can turn these ideas into action.
The dissatisfaction among Alphabet’s 94,374 employees and tens of thousands more contractors has not noticeably affected company shares. But employees expect Alphabet to face recruiting and retention challenges if their concerns go unaddressed.
The demonstrations follow a New York Times report last week that said Google in 2014 gave a $90 million exit package to Andy Rubin after the then-senior vice president was accused of sexual harassment.
Rubin denied the allegation in the story, which he also said contained “wild exaggerations” about his compensation. Google did not dispute the report.
The report energized a months-long movement inside Google to increase diversity, improve treatment of women and minorities and ensure the company upholds its motto of “don’t be evil” as it expands.
Much of the organizing earlier this year was internal, including petition drives, brainstorming sessions with top executives and training from the workers’ rights group Coworker.org.
On Thursday, employees posted on social media about the walkout and were set to deliver speeches in public plazas.
Organizers said Google executives, like leaders at other companies affected by the #metoo movement, have been slow to address some structural issues.
“While Google has championed the language of diversity and inclusion, substantive actions to address systemic racism, increase equity, and stop sexual harassment have been few and far between,” organizers stated.
They said Google must report its sexual harassment statistics and end forced arbitration in harassment cases. In addition, they asked that the chief diversity officer be able to directly advise the board.