Hundreds of workers streamed out of Google's Kendall Square office on Thursday morning, joining colleagues around the globe, to protest what they described as the Internet giant's lenient treatment of men accused of sexual misconduct.
The protest, billed the "Walkout For Real Change", comes comes a week after The New York Times revealed that Andy Rubin - creator of Google's Android software - received a $90m severance package despite being sacked over accusations of sexual misconduct.
The walkout at Google's Fremont offices were part of a companywide protest at offices from Tokyo and Singapore to London and NY, reflecting a growing #MeToo-style backlash among women against frat-house misbehavior in heavily male-dominated Silicon Valley. Rubin has denied the allegation.
He said: "Employees have raised constructive ideas for how we can improve our policies and our processes going forward".
In a pinned tweet on the Google Walkout Twitter account, the company's workers laid out their demands, including an end to forced arbitration in sexual assault cases, assault transparency reports from Google and a new process for reporting assault anonymously.
Pichai emphasized that Google still hopes to champion one of the company's cardinal tenets: a culture of openness and transparency.More news: Pence Knocks Abrams Over Celebrity Support: 'This Ain't Hollywood, This Is Georgia'
Local organizers said the walkout was meant to address more than sexual misconduct allegations.
Google Canada spokesman Aaron Brindle said in an email that the company employees about 400 workers in Toronto and another 100 in Montreal, meaning a roughly a quarter of each office walked out. DeVaul had remained at the "X" lab after the allegations surfaced a few years ago, but he resigned Tuesday without severance, Google confirmed Wednesday.
The global Google walkout was sparked by a New York Times article about a former executive.
"Moments like this show that we didn't always get it right", Pichai said, referring to the New York Times report. After an investigation, Google concluded that the woman's claims were credible, but instead of firing Rubin, Google asked him to quietly resign to avoid a press scandal. DeVaul is leaving without any exit package, according to a person familiar with the matter.
"I'm pissed off", said Google employee Mal Gilbert. They occupy slightly more than one quarter of leadership roles globally, according to Google data from 2017.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai joined its vice president of people operations, Eileen Naughton, in reassuring staff that the company was "dead serious" about ensuring it provided a "safe and inclusive workplace", Bloomberg reported.