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Google employees worldwide staging walkout to protest response to sexual misconduct claims

Why Google employees are walking out today
Credit: STR, AFP/Getty Images
This photo taken on August 23, 2018 shows the Google logo on display at the Smart China Expo at Chongqing International Expo Center in southwest China's Chongqing.

Hundreds of Google employees plan to stage a walkout Thursday to protest the company's response to allegations of sexual misconduct.

The walkout follows a report last month by The New York Times which said the company handed Android mobile software creator Andy Rubin a $90 million exit package, but failed to disclose it was because an employee accused him of sexual misconduct.

In an email to employees Oct. 25 — the same day the Times story published — Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is "dead serious" about providing a safe workplace for all employees.

"In the last two years, 48 people have been terminated for sexual harassment, including 13 who were senior managers and above," Pichai said. "None of these individuals received an exit package."

Rubin denied the allegations in the story on Twitter. "These false allegations are part of a smear campaign to disparage me during a divorce and custody battle," he said.

According to The New York Times, more than 1,500 employees plan to participate in the walkout, at 11:10 a.m. local time Thursday.

A Twitter account named @GoogleWalkout started posting images Thursday of employees at Google offices worldwide participating in the walkout, including London, Dublin and Singapore.

Among changes employees at Google want to see, according to the Twitter feed: No more forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination, an end to "pay and opportunity inequality" and a better process for reporting harassment.

"As the recent article and the executive response make clear, these problems go all the way to the top," organizers of the walkout said in a statement. "While Google has championed the language of diversity and inclusion, substantive actions to address systemic racism, increase equity, and stop sexual harassment have been few and far between."

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.