Two Google employees who helped to organize a workout walkout involving an estimated 20,000 workers to combat abusive treatment of sexual harassment and abuses by the company November 2018, Google Wired claimed.
Wired wrote that Meredith Whittaker of Google's Open Research Artificial Intelligence Project and YouTube Marketing Manager Claire Stapleton said they were faced with career challenges by supporting the organization of the event. In a letter to Google's internal mailing lists Wired received, Whittaker wrote that shortly after the dissolution of an AI Ethics Council, her company was told that her role would "change dramatically" and that she was working for a new one To give up York University Research Institute:
Shortly after Google announced that it would dissolve its AI Ethics Council, I was informed that my role would change dramatically. I said to stay in the company, I have to give up my work on AI Ethics and the AI Now Institute, which I co-founded and has done rigorously and recognizedly on these issues. I've spent years working on AI ethics and bias issues and am one of the people who helped shape the field when it comes to these issues. I've also taken a risk to push for a more ethical Google, even if it's less profitable or expedient.
Stapleton wrote in the letter that two months after the strike Google told her that "she" would be downgraded. Lose half of my reports and say that an approved project is no longer on the table. She added that when she escalated the issue to human resources and a vice president, it "makes things worse"; Stapleton wrote that she was instructed to take medical leave, even though she was not ill.
While Stapleton contacted a lawyer and undone the demotion, she concluded she still felt Google was a hostile workplace environment: After five years as a high-performing YouTube marketing executive (and nearly twelve at Google) two months after the walkout I was told that I would be demoted, that I lose half of my reports and that an approved project is no longer in progress. I escalated to HR and to my VP, which greatly aggravated the situation. My manager ignored me, my work was passed on to others, and I was told that I had to go on medical leave, even though I was not ill. It was not until I hired a lawyer and got in touch with Google that the management went through an investigation and went back, at least on paper. While my work is restored, the environment remains hostile and I think about stopping almost every day.
The two added in the letter that during the strike they collected more than 300 retaliatory stories on Google and wrote "stand up and stand" reports of discrimination, abuse and immoral behavior, punished, sidelined and displaced. "They also announced plans for a Town Hall meeting to deal with the problem, and asked other Google employees to share their own retaliatory stories."
"I think that's pretty straightforward," said the software engineer and co-organizer Amr Gaber of The New York Times. "Google has never treated them like this, and then the strike happened. Now they have to accept that their work is no longer valuable.
The original walkout followed an article in the Times that revealed that Google had organized a $ 90 million exit package for Android developer Andy Rubin, who left the company on allegations of sexual harassment , Although the company apologized later and said it had fired dozens of people for similar misconduct in recent years without exit packages, the Times wrote, but the incident drew other employees' attention to another issue, such as the termination of compulsory arbitration Labor struggles, equality pay Better reporting on sexual harassment and misconduct and transparency, as well as a growing role for the Chief Diversity Officer.
Employees, including Whittaker and Stapleton, called for a one-day strike – which in fact attracted an estimated 20,000 people in the US. Europe and Asia on November 1, 2018. Shortly thereafter, Google terminated its compulsory arbitration rule in cases of sexual harassment (and earlier this year he said that this would mean the termination of arbitration agreements on all matters relating to workers' contracts).
In a statement in several media, a Google spokesman denied the allegations against which an employee had been avenged for his role in the strike. He wrote: "We prohibit retaliation in the workplace and investigate all allegations. Employees and teams are regularly and regularly given new responsibilities or reorganized to keep pace with evolving business needs. There are no retaliatory measures here.
The complete letter can be found at Wired. Gizmodo has sought further comments from Google and we will update it when we hear it.
[Wired/New York Times]