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Why are Google employees walking out on the company?

Thousands of Google employees worldwide walked out of the company’s offices on Thursday as part of a global protest against the tech giant’s handling of sexual harassment cases.

The mobilisation followed a report in The New York Times saying that Android creator Andy Rubin received $90 million in severance when Google fired him in 2014 over accusations of sexual misconduct that the company deemed credible.

Thursday’s first protests took place at Google offices in Singapore, Tokyo and other Asian locations, spreading to European cities such as London, Berlin and Zurich as the day wore on, reports Efe.

After the reaction to the story in The Times, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sought to reassure employees about the company’s stand against sexual harassment.

“Over the past two years, we have terminated 48 people, including 13 senior managers and above for sexual harassment,” Pichai said.

“None of these people received an exit package. And to clarify: in that time, we have also not provided any exit packages to executives who departed voluntarily in the course of a sexual harassment investigation,” he added.

Organisers of #GoogleWalkout published a list of demands for management, including an “end to Forced Arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination for all current and future employees” and a “clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously.”

The demonstrators gathered at San Francisco’s major tourist neighbourhood at the waterfront Embarcadero in the northern part of the city, holding placards that read “Don’t Be Evil” and “#Times Up Google,” and called more greater respect for women and women’s right.

The walkouts followed a recent New York Times report alleging that Andy Rubin, creator of the Android mobile operating system and former executive in charge of the Android software department at Google was forced to resign for sexual misconduct with a severance package of $90 million, reports Xinhua.

Rubin was accused of forcing a female subordinate to have sex with him and probed for sexual misconduct at Google.

However, Rubin denied the allegations this month and slammed New York Times on Twitter for containing “inaccuracies about my employment at Google and wild exaggerations about my compensation.” He called the allegations “a smear campaign.”

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On October 25, Google admitted it had fired 48 employees for sexual harassment, including 13 who were senior managers and above, in the last two years.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said none of those individuals who were terminated received an exit package after Google took a tougher line toward its employees accused of sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct.

During Thursday’s rally, the Google employees called for an end to sexual harassment and pay inequity at the company.

On the Mountain View campus at Google’s headquarters in northern California, hundreds of employees also staged a walkout to express their discontent about Google’s lax handling of sexual harassment at the company.

The protesters said they’ve heard stories of sexual exploitation for a long time and wanted to see actions taken along with real changes at their workplace.

The global walkout attracted thousands of employees at Google offices across Asia, Europe and North America to protest sexism and urge respect for women in major cities including San Francisco, Berlin, London, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Tokyo and Hyderabad, India.

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After Google announced last week it fired 48 people for sexual harassment since 2016, nearly 1,500 workers were planning a walk-out at the company’s offices globally on Thursday, the media reported.

According to a report in The New York Times, more than 1,500 — most of them women — plan to walk out of almost two dozen company offices around the world to protest Google’s handling of sexual harassment and its workplace culture.

“We don’t want to feel that we’re unequal or we’re not respected anymore,” Claire Stapleton, 33, Product Marketing Manager at Google’s YouTube, was quoted as saying.

In a letter to employees last week, Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said the tech giant was taking a “hard line” on inappropriate conduct.

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