Inside the lobby at the Google office in Kirkland. Photo courtesy of Runner1928

Inside the lobby at the Google office in Kirkland. Photo courtesy of Runner1928

Local employees protest sexual misconduct in Google walkout

Google’s Kirkland campus took part in the worldwide protest of sexual misconduct within the company.

Google Kirkland employees streamed out of their office the morning of Nov. 1 with signs reading “Believe Women” and “Times Up Google,” demanding more transparent, effective handling of sexual misconduct within the company.

Hundreds of local employees — both at the company’s Kirkland and Seattle locations — participated in the worldwide Google walkout to protest how the tech giant protected executives accused of sexual misconduct, including Android mobile software creator, Andy Rubin. The New York Times reported Sunday that three Google executives, including Rubin, were accused of sexual misconduct and protected by Google within the past decade.

Specifically, Rubin received a “hero’s farewell” and a $90 million exit package in 2014 while his sexual misconduct was left unmentioned, The New York Times reported. According to the article, Rubin was accused of coercing a female employee into performing oral sex in a hotel room during an extramarital affair with her in 2013.

Rubin denied the accusations on Sunday, claiming the allegations are “part of a smear campaign to disparage [him] during a divorce and custody battle.”

Google found the allegations to be credible.

Amit Singhal, a senior vice president, received similar treatment after he was accused of groping a female employee at an off-site event in 2015, all detailed in The Times article. The third harasser named in the exposé, Rich DeVaul, an executive of Alphabet’s X division, was allowed to stay at Google’s parent company, but resigned Oct. 30 in light of the article.

According to multiple reports, this was only the latest of numerous mishandled sexual misconduct incidents in which Google dismissed victims in favor of the harassers who abused their power.

Thousands of Google employees participated in the protest in support of women’s rights and reform within the company. Organizers at the Kirkland walkout read aloud stories of harassment and discrimination.

The protesters made several demands including an end to forced arbitration in harassment and discrimination cases and the ability for employees to bring a colleague or supporter to human resources meetings; the end of pay and opportunity inequality, specifically to ensure there are women of color at every level and a transparent data report of the gender, race and ethnicity compensation gap; a public sexual harassment report detailing the number of claims, types of claims, how many accusers and accused employees have left the company and any exit package values; an improved sexual misconduct reporting system for all employees to feel safe and anonymous; and the company’s diversity chief to report directly to the CEO and have direct input to the board of the directors as well as an employee representative appointed to the board who will work with the diversity chief to allocate permanent resources and achieve these demands.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai responded to The Times article on Tuesday in an internal email obtained by Axios.

“I am deeply sorry for the past actions and the pain they have caused employees,” Pichai wrote. “If even one person experiences Google the way the New York Times article described, we are not the company we aspire to be.”

He added that Google has terminated 48 people, including 13 who were at senior manager and higher positions, for sexual harassment over the past two years.

“I understand the anger and disappointment that many of you feel. I feel it as well, and I am fully committed to making progress on an issue that has persisted for far too long in our society…and, yes, here at Google, too,” Pichai wrote. “Some of you have raised very constructive ideas for how we can improve our policies and our processes going forward. I am taking in all your feedback so we can turn these ideas into action. We will have more to share soon.”

For updates on this story, visit KirklandReporter.com.

More in News

Rep. Patty Kuderer, D-48
Kuderer pushes for election reforms

Her bills involve presidential tax returns, faithless electors, advisory votes and more.

AG suing opioid distributors for ‘ignoring red flags’

Kirkland mother shares her son’s history with methadone.

The Cedar Hills Regional Landfill is the only active landfill in King County. It will operate until at least 2028. It has been in operation since the 1960s. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Waste study puts numbers behind King County trash alternatives

County has one remaining landfill located near Maple Valley, and it’s nearing capacity

U.S. is now grounding Renton-made 737 MAX 8 and 9; Boeing supports decision

Update: The decision does not affect Renton production lines.

New Councilmember Curtis is ready to serve Kirkland

The 25-year resident has clear goals for her term.

A new community van provides shared rides, either one-time or recurring, to popular destinations and are available throughout the day, evening and on weekends. Photo courtesy of King County Metro
Kenmore, Kirkland and Metro launch new community van program

The service offers a customizable alternative to public transportation.

Mayor John Marchione was among many community members to place their handprints in the wet cement below the new sign at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound in Redmond after the mosque’s old sign was vandalized in 2016. File photo
Examining hate crimes on the Eastside

The Anti-Defamation League has been tracking hate-fueled crimes and incidents to paint a picture of trends in communities.

Eastside church sues state on International Women’s Day to overturn abortion coverage

The lawsuit was filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is classified as a hate group by Southern Poverty Law Center

Most Read