Google Canada man­ager shares same ‘frus­tra­tion’ as work­ers who walked out

Tech gi­ant faced job ac­tion by staff over its han­dling of sex­ual mis­con­duct cases

StarMetro Toronto - - CANADA & WORLD - Tara Deschamps

Google Canada’s coun­try man­ager says she shares the same “frus­tra­tion” as the thou­sands of em­ploy­ees who staged a global walk­out at the tech gi­ant last week to protest its al­leged mis­treat­ment of women and mis­han­dling of sex­ual mis­con­duct.

Sab­rina Geremia says she feels the walk­out, which in­cluded work­ers in Toronto, Mon­treal and Water­loo, Ont., is a “dif­fi­cult episode” that she hopes it will be­come an in­dus­try “wa­ter­mark.”

Speak­ing at a lunch hosted by the Canadian Club in Toronto, Geremia says Google has taken a much harder line on bad be­hav­iour and that no one is more keen to solve is­sues around mis­con­duct than its CEO, Sun­dar Pichai.

Pichai has promised to col­lect feed­back from work­ers after they walked out in the wake of a New York Times story that de­tailed al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct against a hand­ful of Google em­ploy­ees in­clud­ing An­droid soft­ware cre­ator Andy Rubin and Richard De­vaul, a di­rec­tor at Google’s X lab.

Em­ploy­ees who par­tic­i­pated in the walk­out were de­mand­ing an end to forced ar­bi­tra­tion in ha­rass­ment and dis­crim­i­na­tion cases, a com­mit­ment to end pay in­equity, pub­licly dis­closed sex­ual ha­rass­ment trans­parency re­ports, and a clear pol­icy for re­port­ing sex­ual mis­con­duct safely and anony­mously.

“It sheds a fur­ther light on why we need more di­verse per­spec­tives,” Geremia said of the walk­out. “I hope that good will come out of this.” Google Canada em­ploy­ees re­turn to work in Toronto fol­low­ing a walk­out on Nov. 1. It was part of a com­pany-wide job ac­tion.

COLE BURSTON/THE CANADIAN PRESS

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