New Delhi: Over 150 Google employees from three offices in India—Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Gurugram—walked out on Thursday to protest against the lenient manner in which the technology company dealt with cases of global executives involved in sexual harassment cases.
This was part of a global protest by Googlers across different offices in response to a New York Times story that appeared last week. The story claimed that Google had paid huge exit packages to male executives accused of sexual harassment including Andy Rubin, the creator of the Android operating system (OS), and did not take appropriate action to address the issue.
According to the story, Google later said it had fired 48 people for sexual harassment over the last two years without giving them exit packages. While Google CEO Sundar Pichai and co-founder Larry Page issued apologies, it was not sufficient to curtail the growing internal backlash against the company’s handling of the situation and the “free and fair culture" that Google has traditionally prided itself on.
A Google India spokesperson confirmed that walkouts had taken place across three locations in the country. He also affirmed that this was a planned move by the employees across offices globally. He added that this was to draw attention to the case and that Google was “supportive of this action".
According to the official statement attributed to Pichai: “Yesterday, we let Googlers know that we are aware of the activities planned for Thursday and that employees will have the support they need if they wish to participate. Employees have raised constructive ideas for how we can improve our policies and our processes going forward. We are taking in all their feedback so we can turn these ideas into action."
It is reported that demonstrations at Google offices around the world began at 11.10am in Tokyo and took place simultaneously in other time zones.
In India, M.J. Akbar’s resignation from the post of union minister of state for external affairs represented the most high-profile case in the country’s #MeToo movement. The edit concluded that, “This breaking of silence around the abuse of women by men in positions of power is heartening, given the suffering—be it day-to-day harassment, or extreme cases such as the horrific Nirbhaya case—that women have endured historically in India."