Last week, Google employees Claire Stapleton and Meredith Whittaker came forward to say the company retaliated against them following their roles in staging a walkout.
The walkout in question happened back in November 2018. More than 20,000 employees participated to protest sexual harassment within the company. The walkout was organized after an executive was paid millions of dollars in an exit package despite having been found to sexually harass another employee.
Today, Google employees held a sit-in to protest the alleged retaliation against their fellow workers. The sit-in was announced in a tweet by Google Walkout For Real Change.
“From being told to go on sick leave when you’re not sick, to having your reports taken away, we’re sick of retaliation,” the organizers wrote. “Six months ago, we walked out. This time, we’re sitting in.”
From being told to go on sick leave when you're not sick, to having your reports taken away, we're sick of retaliation.
Six months ago, we walked out. This time, we're sitting in. 11am tomorrow. #NotOkGoogle #GoogleWalkout pic.twitter.com/GCq0x1O8cZ
— Google Walkout For Real Change (@GoogleWalkout) April 30, 2019
In a series of tweets from this morning, organizers wrote, “Many workers are calling out sick (of retaliation), a reference to being told to take medical leave when not sick. Some set their out of office email reply to speak to what’s happening. Others will change their profile photos. All of these actions say retaliation is #NotOkGoogle.”
Later today we'll also be sharing more stories of retaliation from this account. #NotOkGoogle
— Google Walkout For Real Change (@GoogleWalkout) May 1, 2019
Google employees are no strangers to protest. For the past few years, they’ve been pushing for powerful change in the tech industry. In June 2018, Google employees forced the company to drop a contract with the Department of Defense’s drone project, stating, “Google should not be in the business of war,” as reported by The New York Times.
Last month, Googlers Against Transphobia organized to have Kay Cole James — president of the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation — removed from the company’s external advisory board for “responsible” AI development. Google ended up disbanding the board altogether.
Plus, not only did employees recently win their own battle against forced arbitration, but they hosted a phone drive on May 1 urging Congress to vote in favor of the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act.
It’s clear that Google employees don’t intend to stop holding their employers accountable — no matter what kind of retaliation they may face.