Not OK Google

November 6, 2018 |

Google Protests

Image Credit:  Jillian D’Onfro, CNBC

We write often on this blog (see here, here, and here, and more) about harassment prevention and the need for employers to exert genuine effort in understanding how their company culture, policies, procedures, and communications frames the “me too” movement in their specific workplace and for their employees.

Last week, Google was given 17,000 reasons to take a look at its practices.  According to news reports, approximately 17,000 Google employees, participated in walkouts to protest Google’s alleged handling of sexual harassment.  The walkouts, which took place in New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Dublin, Singapore, India, Berlin, Zurich, and London, were prompted by a New York Times article that indicated Google provided millions of dollars in separation pay to executives accused of misconduct.  Specifically, the Times’ article indicated that an allegation of sexual misconduct was made against an executive and an investigation indicated the allegation was credible.  But, the executive was given a “hero’s farewell” and “a $90 million exit package.”

Employees held signs that said:

  • “Not OK Google”
  • “Hey Google, this is [bull emoji] [poo emoji]!”
  • “Happy to quit for $90M.  No sexual harassment required.”
  • “#Time’sUp Google”
  • “Believe women”
  • “Hey Google, Do better”
  • “Did the payoff pay off?

Ouch.  Imagine if your employees were holding signs like that in protest of your company’s alleged actions?  Right?  Ouch!

Now, Google’s response is that 48 employees have been terminated for sexual harassment and none received an exit package.  Even if that is true, they still have many thousands of upset employees and some terrible national headlines.  Not a position you want your company to be in.  So, I encourage you to reread those sign slogans and then give some real consideration to how you can ensure that your employees have confidence in how your company would handle an allegation of sexual harassment.  Please reach out if we can help.

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