From Singapore to New York, through London and even the worldwide headquarters in California, thousands of Google employees on Thursday, November 2 stop working to report sexual harassment management in the company.
This social movement, the first of its magnitude in this symbol of the modernity company, is part of a New York Times article last week: the newspaper said that Google has covered in recent years a series of cases of sexual harassment involving highs officials, including Andy Rubin, creator of the Android mobile operating system, party of the group in 2014 with a compensation of 90 million dollars. Andy Rubin denied these accusations.
The movement's organizers have asked about 90,000 Google employees around the world to leave their offices at 11 in the morning in their respective time zone.
At the headquarters of the group in Mountain View, California, the images of Twitter employees and local television shows showed thousands of employees, "Googlers said" – gathered among the many campus buildings, "Googleplex." in the heat of Silicon Valley, the cradle of technological giants. Also hundreds of employees of their YouTube affiliate mobilized.
You never saw it on Google
"Twelve years on Google and I've never seen such a big crowd, proud to be there to support justice and transparency," tweeted Ken Norton, an employee.
Managing Director Sundar Pichai said in a written statement that he supported the employees who chose to disengage themselves.
Speaking on Thursday at a New York Times conference in New York, he admitted that there was "anger and frustration in the group."
"In Google, we are setting the bar very high and clearly we can not find our own expectations".
According to him, Google has adopted a very strict position on inadequate behavior in recent years, but "times like this show that we have not always done this". "The concrete actions are coming".
The meetings began in Asia, in Singapore, where about 100 employees met internally, then in Tokyo, also internally, and in Hyderabad, India.
31% of women
The movement then won Europe. About 500 employees met in an outside area of the European headquarters of Google in Dublin. And in London, hundreds of people gathered in a large corporate room before going out.
"We are protesting to support our colleagues who have been harassed and claim that the authors are not protected or rewarded," said Sam Dutton, a developer, to AFP.
Other organizations were organized in Berlin and Zurich.
In New York, where Google employs about 10,000 people, hundreds of employees, mostly under 40, found themselves in a park near the Chelsea office in the company. Some had signs that said "Time is Up Tech", a reference to the "Time's Up" movement to defend people who are victims of sexual harassment, born on the trail of # MeToo in October 2017.
Several people got megaphone to push protesters to demand a culture change in Google, where women accounted for only 31% of employees and 25% of managers in 2017.
"We have the ambition to be the best company in the world," said the organizer of New York, Demma Rodríguez. "In Google, we expect them to be exceptional, to meet our goals, but we also have goals as a company," he added, noting that one of Google's values was "respect".
48 employees dismissed for sexual harassment
Claire Stapleton, another organizer, welcomed the success of the movement, explaining that the idea was born on Monday and extends to the company through a group of emails that brought together 1,500 people.
"I believe that […] that we all want a change […] I think management is listening to us. "
After the New York Times article, Sundar Pichai sent an email to the employees saying that 48 employees, including 13 senior officials, had been harassed by sexual harassment for the past two years, without compensation. He assured that the group no longer tolerated any inappropriate behavior.
On Tuesday night, in another internal message made public by the specialized web site of Ars Technica, the leader said that "it deeply regretted past actions and damages caused to employees."
Alphabet, the parent company of Google, confirmed on Wednesday that Rich DeVaul, an "X" manager, the division of the group dedicated to futuristic projects (balloons for transmission over the internet, delivery of drones …) has just left without compensation.
Rich DeVaul was among senior executives "protected" by Google since the group knew they were accused of harassment, according to the "New York Times". According to the newspaper, he made the advances in 2013 to a woman who was applying on Google.