Google Alleged Retaliation Detailed By Employees Following 2018 Walkout

A Google search page is seen through a magnifying glass in this photo illustration taken in Berlin, August 11, 2015. (Photo: REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski/File Photo)

Following the Google Walkout protest six months ago, the protest's organizers announced a sit-in for Wednesday, May 1. The organizers said the event is in response to company seniors allegedly retaliating after last year's first protest.

According to Business Insider, Google Walkout organizers Claire Stapleton and Meredith Whittaker accused the internet giant of retaliating by way of demotion and forcing them to surrender some of their duties to other employees.

In an email, Stapleton clarified that her post has been restored. However, she said "the environment remains hostile" and almost every day, she considers quitting her job. She further revealed that she was forced to go on sick leave even if she didn't feel sick.

The alleged retaliation by Stapleton's manager led to other Google employees revealing their own experiences after the Walkout event. In a detailed account published on Medium, members of Google Walkout shared stories of how employees in higher positions retaliated.

To address the issue, a Google spokesperson said employees are given multiple networks through which they can report concerns. "We prohibit retaliation in the workplace and publicly share our very clear policy," the spokesperson noted.

Last week, Google employees gathered to share experiences of retaliation. Bloomberg reported that during the town hall meeting, Stapleton said she only saved her marketing position at YouTube after obtaining assistance from a lawyer.

Whittaker, on the other hand, revealed that she was demoted from her job at the AI ethics department. Google reportedly tried to transfer her to another team but the supposed transfer was halted shortly after the company dissolved its AI ethics panel.

"It isn't as appears here," Google diversity director, Oona King, said. The company also reiterated that it does not allow retaliation. Instead, the firm said it allows workers to make anonymous complaints.

Meanwhile, The Verge reported on Tuesday that former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is set to leave his seat at Alphabet's board in June. The announcement came one year after Schmidt stepped down from his CEO post.

Schmidt was with Alphabet for 18 years but industry analysts said his departure from the board doesn't come as a surprise. The former Google CEO has been accused of helping cover-up cases of sexual misconduct in the company.

Google has been embroiled in a number of controversies over the past few months. As a result, the company's shares saw a dip following Monday's figures showed that the online search behemoth's advertising arm has been declining.

The American internet firm has yet to make an official statement regarding Wednesday's Google Walkout sit-in event.

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