Google employees down tools in support of Google Walkout For Real Change campaign

Google employees at offices around the world are staging a series of walkouts today in protest at the companys treatment of women.

The Google Walkout For Real Change campaign is demanding five specific changes to the company’s policies:

An end to Forced Arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination for all current and future employees.

A commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity.

A publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report.

A clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously.

Elevate the Chief Diversity Officer to answer directly to the CEO and make recommendations directly to the Board of Directors. In addition, appoint an Employee Rep to the Board.

Forced arbitration is written into many Silicon Valley employee contracts, and requires any disputes to be dealt with internally rather than through other the courts. Critics argue it’s a way for big tech firms to protect their own reputation, and that of the person accused of wrongdoing.

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai has supported the move, telling employees in an all-staff email: “I understand the anger and disappointment that many of you feel. I feel it as well, and I am fully committed to making progress on an issue that has persisted for far too long in our society… and, yes, here at Google, too.”

The move comes a week after the New York Times reported that Android OS creator Andy Rubin received a $90m settlement when he left the company in October 2014, despite the fact that a female employee of the company alleged he had coerced her into performing oral sex in a hotel room in 2013, “according to two company executives with knowledge of the episode”.