It’s been a rough year for Google’s employee relations. Questions were raised about the wellness of its workers after a 22-year-old employee was found dead at his desk follow what reports called a ‘gruelling work schedule’
Whilst a major enquiry over sexual harassment at the company in October of last year led to the sacking of no less than 48 employees, including 13 senior managers.
The case led to a media furore in which former CEO Andy Rubin was implicated.
Despite the sacking, many employees perceived the firm to not be doing enough. This led to a mass-walkout by some 20,000 of the company’s global worker base of 94,370 employees. “We have the eyes of many companies looking at us,” Google employee Tanuja Gupta told The Verge at the time. “We’ve always been a vanguard company, so if we don’t lead the way, nobody else will,” she added.
In early April, Google confirmed that following the actions, it would change the way in which employees can log complaints based on harassment and discrimination. CEO Sundar Pichai confirmed that the company would make arbitration options for any allegations raised by workers via a dedicated website.
The company also confirmed that it will release an annual report on internal misconduct, and a copy of its policy on harassment and other workplace issues.
“A big part of my job is to listen to ideas that Googlers have and take feedback on ways we can improve our workplace,” Chief Diversity Officer Melonie Parker commented on the company’s blog. She added:
“We won’t implement every idea that our employees (or the outside world) raise, but we always listen, and we consider constructive feedback.”
Yet, far from being satisfied with the measures, many employees have called for 1 May to be a ‘Day of Action’ to protest what they believe to be a “culture of retaliation” within the company against those who raised the initial issues.
Employees are now being urged to utilise the day as either a personal day, or to join its May Day rally – a plea that was made publicly viewable in an article released by Fortune. “This is a critical time for us to examine how the issues that were raised at the walkout have been handled (poorly), and to demand that the culture of retaliation be reversed immediately,” reads the statement.
Previously, two Google employees accused the firm of retaliating against them after organising a walkout in November 2018.
Google has since declined to comment on the plans, but discussed issues raised by employees in a live-streamed town hall meeting on Monday, which was watched by over 10,000 workers.
HR Grapevine - Employees plan day of protest against employer