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Silicon Valley, Google Walk Off To Protest Against Mishandling Of Sexual Harassment Cases

The workers went back to their offices but vowed to continue pressuring Google to change.

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Google, Web summit, sexual misconduct, trafficking
Google employees fill Harry Bridges Plaza in front of the Ferry Building during a walkout, Nov. 1, 2018, in San Francisco. Hundreds of Google employees around the world briefly walked off the job in a protest against what they said is the tech company's mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations against executives. VOA

It was a protest that went around the globe.

From Singapore to Dublin, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Pryor, Oklahoma, Google employees walked out of their offices to protest the internet search giant’s handling of sexual discrimination cases, and express their frustration with its workplace culture.

In San Francisco, where Google has several offices, hundreds of workers congregated at a plaza where they gave speeches and held signs. One read: “I reported and he got promoted.”

The unusual protest — tech companies are not unionized and typically keep strife about personnel matters behind closed doors — riveted Silicon Valley, which has struggled in recent years over the treatment of women in the industry.

Resignation, severance

The Google protest was spurred by a New York Times story that outlined allegations against high-profile leaders at the firm, including Andy Rubin, known as “the father of Android,” who was reportedly paid $90 million in severance. Rubin has denied the allegations in the article, as well as reports of his severance amount.

Richard DeVaul, a director at X, a unit of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, resigned from the company on Tuesday. He was accused of making unwanted advances to a woman who was a job applicant at the firm.

 

Google, protest
Google employees walk off the job in a protest against what they said is the tech company’s mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations against executives. VOA

 

 List of demands

“We are a small part of a massive movement that has been growing for a long time,” protest organizers said in an article published in the online magazine The Cut. “We are inspired by everyone — from the women in fast food who led an action against sexual harassment to the thousands of women in the #metoo movement who have been the beginning of the end for this type of abuse.”

Leaders of the protest issued a list of demands, including that Alphabet add a worker-representative to its board of directors and that the firm internally disclose pay equity information.

They also asked the company to revise its human resources practices to make the harassment claims filing process more equitable, and to create a “publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report.”

Google
Google employees gather in a courtyard as they take part in a walkout from their jobs at the Google campus in Kirkland, Washington. VOA

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email to employees that “as CEO, it’s been personally important to me that we take a much harder line on inappropriate behavior. … We have taken many steps to do so, and know our work is still not done.”

Social media protest

The global protest unfolded on Twitter and Facebook as employees from offices around the world posted photos of themselves walking out at the appointed time of 11:10 a.m.

Google
Tanuja Gupta, programming director at Google, addresses hundreds of Google employees during a protest rally. VOA

 

The greatest concentration of Google workers is in the San Francisco area. In San Bruno, 12 miles south of San Francisco, employees at YouTube, which is part of Google, walked out, as did those in Mountain View, company headquarters.

“As a woman, I feel personally unsafe, because if something were to happen, what accountability measures will be in place to make sure that justice is sought?” said Google employee Rana Abdelhamid at the San Francisco protest.

Christian Boyd, another Google employee, was angry about what she said was protecting the powerful, even in the face of credible allegations.

“It’s sad to see that what we consider the best companies are not immune to this, as well,” Boyd said.

Also Read: Everything You Need To Know About The #MeToo Movement

After 30 minutes of speeches, the workers went back to their offices but vowed to continue pressuring Google to change. (VOA)

Next Story

EU Fines Google $1.7 bn for Unfair Online Ad Rules

This meant that publishers were prohibited from placing any search adverts from competitors on their search results pages

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Google, smart compose
The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

The European Union’s antitrust regulators on Wednesday fined Google 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion) for abusing its dominance in the online search market by blocking rivals.

Google has abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which prevented Google’s rivals from placing their search adverts on these websites, the European Commission (EC) said in a statement.

“Today the Commission has fined Google 1.49 billion euros for illegal misuse of its dominant position in the market for the brokering of online search adverts,” EC Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

It is the third EU fine for Google in just two years.

“Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules,” Vestager said.

The Commission said the fine which is equivalent to 1.29 per cent of Google’s turnover in 2018 takes account of the duration and gravity of the infringement.

“The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate – and consumers the benefits of competition,” Vestager said.

Websites such as newspaper websites, blogs or travel sites aggregators often have a search function embedded.

google Politicals ads
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, California.

When a user searches using this search function, the website delivers both search results and search adverts, which appear alongside the search result.

Through AdSense for Search, Google provides these search adverts to owners of “publisher” websites.

Google is an intermediary, like an advertising broker, between advertisers and website owners that want to profit from the space around their search results pages.

Therefore, AdSense for Search works as an online search advertising intermediation platform.

Also Read- Samsung to Launch its First 5G Smartphone in Market in April

Google was by far the strongest player in online search advertising intermediation in the European Economic Area (EEA), with a market share above 70 per cent from 2006 to 2016.

Google’s provision of online search advertising intermediation services to the most commercially important publishers took place via agreements that were individually negotiated.

The Commission reviewed hundreds of such agreements in the course of its investigation and found that starting in 2006, Google included exclusivity clauses in its contracts.

This meant that publishers were prohibited from placing any search adverts from competitors on their search results pages, the European Commission said. (IANS)