Google employees are holding a sit-in at offices around the world to protest alleged retaliation against workers.
A Google employee told The Verge that hundreds were expected to be involved throughout the day, with sit-ins at offices scheduled for 11AM local time. A Google spokesperson said more than 200 employees participated in the New York sit-in, but that not all company offices participated. Employees in international offices, including London, also took part.
At the sit-ins, employees shared stories of what they said were acts of retaliation. “So many brave people shared their stories,” Meredith Whittaker, a Google employee who helped organize last year’s worker walkout, tweeted. “There were tears and talk of unions.”
— Meredith Whittaker (@mer__edith) May 1, 2019
While workers have legal protections to discuss working conditions, Google has faced accusations of retaliation from employees who organized last year’s walkout of 20,000 workers to protest the company’s handling of sexual harassment allegations. Two organizers said in an internal message last month that their job responsibilities had been diminished after organizing protests. Other employees have since shared stories about incidents they said were retaliatory.
Google has said the company does not tolerate retaliation and that any changes in assignment were not retaliatory.
At the sit-ins, workers shared more stories. In one, shared publicly on Twitter, an employee explained that after problems with a manager, she “never spoke about promotion once in the next five years at Google.”
#NotOkGoogle story: “I had a manager with clear favorites — he even openly called them his “proteges.” After a year on the team, during perf, I gave my manager an average manager review. In an effort to find out who wrote what about him, he read all his review feedback …
— Google Walkout For Real Change (@GoogleWalkout) May 1, 2019
“We prohibit retaliation in the workplace and publicly share our very clear policy,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “To make sure that no complaint raised goes unheard at Google, we give employees multiple channels to report concerns, including anonymously, and investigate all allegations of retaliation.”