In an unusual move, thousands of Google employees and contractors in Asia, Europe and the United States on Thursday left their offices and staged brief walkouts, complaining about sexism, racism and unchecked executive power.
The protesters called on Google parent Alphabet to add an employee representative to its board of directors and internally share pay-equity data. They also asked for changes to Google’s human resources practices intended to make bringing harassment claims a fairer process.
Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said that "employees have raised constructive ideas" and that the company was "taking in all their feedback so we can turn these ideas into action."
The demonstrations follow a New York Times report last week that said Google in 2014 gave a $90 million exit package to Andy Rubin after the then-senior vice president was accused of sexual harassment.
Google, as well as other tech giants, has been trying to increase diversity, improve treatment of women and minorities.
Google has been known for its exceptional transparency with workers. Executives’ goals and insights into corporate strategy have been accessible to any employee.
But organizers said Google executives have been slow to address some structural issues.
"While Google has championed the language of diversity and inclusion, substantive actions to address systemic racism, increase equity, and stop sexual harassment have been few and far between," organizers stated.