Staff at technology giant Google have staged a walk-out protest against what they claim to be severe mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations, following a report that Android creator Andy Rubin received a $90 million golden parachute despite his being pushed out following a 'credible' allegation against him.
Late last month, the New York Times published a piece in which anonymous sources claim that Andy Rubin's 2014 departure from Google, which acquired his Android Incorporated company and its mobile operating system in 2005, came on the back of an allegation of sexual misconduct: In 2013, the sources claim, Rubin coerced a subordinate with whom he had been carrying out an affair into performing oral sex on him in a hotel room, an allegation which the company concluded was 'credible.' Following this conclusion, Google's then-chief executive Larry Page requested Rubin's resignation - but the public announcement of his departure made his exit seem voluntary, and contained no word of the allegations.
Google's handling of the alleged misconduct, which Rubin has claimed 'contains numerous inaccuracies' and is at the heart false and 'part of a smear campaign by my ex-wife to disparage me during a divorce and custody battle,' is claimed to have extended beyond sparing his blushes and to allowing him to claim a $90 million golden parachute, paid at a rate of $2 million a month, which he would not have received had he been fired rather than allowed to resign. It also extends to additional executives, with another having received a similar payout to leave the company and the third retaining his position. Another executive, Richard DeVaul, resigned from the company just this week amid claims he had made unwelcome advances towards a potential hire.
While Google's Sundar Pichai has spoken up on the matter, claiming in an email to staff that he understands 'the anger and disappointment that many of you feel' and revealing that the company has fired, rather than allowed to resign, a total of 48 employees for sexual harassment over the past two years, the company's employees are unimpressed. To show just how unimpressed, groups from over 20 offices globally staged a walk-out protest late last night in an attempt to have the company overhaul its rules regarding such allegations.
The protestors, rallying under the banner of Google Walkout and publishing images from the protests on Twitter, have requested a series of demands including: The removal of forced arbitration, which includes an inability to speak out publicly on the abuses and the abandonment of any right to sue; the publication of a sexual harassment transparency report; a globally-inclusive policy for the reporting of sexual misconduct which allows for anonymous reportage; and the elevation of the company's chief diversity officer to report directly to the chief executive.
Thus far, Google has not indicated whether or not it plans to meet any or all of the protestors' demands.