Thousands of Google employees across the globe walked out of their offices at 11:10am local time on Thursday to demand improvements to workplace culture including an end to sexual harassment and misconduct.
The walkout comes on the heels of an executive resigning this week after the New York Times reported that he allegedly harassed a female job applicant and that the company gave another executive accused of harassment a "hero's farewell" and a $90 million exit package.
Those who are participating in the Google Walkout For Real Change are leaving flyers at their desk that read: "I'm not at my desk because I'm walking out in solidarity with other Googlers and contractors to protest sexual harassment, misconduct, lack of transparency, and a workplace culture that's not working for everyone. I'll be back at my desk later."
"I'm here protesting against harassment in the workplace, to make sure that we don't protect or support those perpetrators of harassment," a demonstrator in London told Sky News . "I think people are supporting those who have been harassed in any workplace situation, by any employer, and this is just part of the movement."
\u201c"I'm here protesting against harassment in the workplace" - @rowlsmanthorpe is outside Google's London office where workers have staged a walkout in protest against the treatment of women at the company.\n\nFor more on the story, head here: https://t.co/GmbvyGrrlx\u201d— Sky News (@Sky News) 1541071710
Echoing the #MeToo movement's rallying cry "Time's up!" seven organizers of the walkout wrote for The Cut on Thursday about the culture of the company and its failures to create a safe work environment. As they put it:
All employees and contract workers across the company deserve to be safe. Sadly, the executive team has demonstrated through their lack of meaningful action that our safety is not a priority. We've waited for leadership to fix these problems, but have come to this conclusion: no one is going to do it for us. So we are here, standing together, protecting and supporting each other. We demand an end to the sexual harassment, discrimination, and the systemic racism that fuel this destructive culture.
While the walkout is occurring in an era of mounting calls for accountability and amid growing frustration over how Google has handled past allegations of sexual misconduct, the walkout participants' five demands also have some broader goals related to eradicating sexism, including an end to "pay and opportunity inequity."
\u201cWe, Google employees and contractors, will walkout on November 1 at 11:10am to demand these five real changes. #googlewalkout\u201d— Google Walkout For Real Change (@Google Walkout For Real Change) 1541035149
The walkout follows the resignation of Richard DeVaul, an executive at Alphabet, Google's parent company, who stepped down Tuesday over allegations reported in the Times --which also revealed that despite "credible" allegations against Andy Rubin, the creator of Android mobile software, the company gave him a multi-million dollar exit package when he left in October of 2014.
Following DeVaul's departure, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai reportedly sent an email to employees announcing that those participating in the walkout on Thursday will get "the support you need."
"I understand the anger and disappointment that many of you feel," he wrote. "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."
"As CEO, it's been personally important to me that we take a much harder line on inappropriate behavior," Pichai continued. "We have taken many steps to do so, and know our work is still not done."
Participants are sharing photos and videos from worldwide protests using the hashtag #GoogleWalkout, and the Twitter account Google Walkout For Real Change is sharing highlights from several demonstrations:
\u201cBiggest room we have. Didn't fit in anymore, but could listen in the overflow area. Hoping for change. #GoogleWalkout\u201d— Jan Schneider (@Jan Schneider) 1541074770
\u201cThank you Google Dublin! #GoogleWalkout\u201d— Google Walkout For Real Change (@Google Walkout For Real Change) 1541080005