Google employees walked out earlier this month over sexual harassment policies that have preserved a culture of turning a blind eye to both sexual harassment and discrimination.

The technology giant has been forced to overhaul its policies following the direct action staged by staff. The walkout was organised by employees in response to claims that senior employees were paid large settlements to leave the company following sexual harassment claims against them.

Google, along with other tech giants in the Silicon Valley region, has been rocked in recent years by allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace. This has led to accusations that the corporate culture has allowed for discrimination against race and gender in hiring, pay and promotions.

On Thursday 1 November 2018, a record number of people walked out of Google’s headquarters in both San Francisco and Singapore, with over 1,000 people estimated to have ‘downed tools’ across the world.

Seven days later, Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, announced that the company would revise its policies surrounding sexual harassment. In an email to staff, he detailed that Google would end forced arbitration for sexual misconduct claims, make changes to its investigations process, share data on harassment claims and outcomes, and provide new support for people who come forward.

In the days following Google’s announcement, Facebook, eBay and Airbnb have all ended forced arbitration for sexual harassment claims. This follows the global success of the #MeToo movement.


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