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Over 500 Google employees write open letter against rising cases of harassment

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

California: Voicing against the rising number of harrasment cases, over 500 Google employees have signed an open letter addressed to Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, asking the company to stop protecting the harassers. The open letter which has now been published on Medium, demands Pichai to provide a safe work environment for employees who face harassment in the company.

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The letter was written days after ex-Google engineer Emi Neitfeld wrote an opinion piece in ‘The New York Times’, narrating how Google handled her harassment case.

The open letter, which was signed by 500 Google employees, highlighted how Emi Neitfeld, the ex-Google engineer, was made to sit next to her harasser. Neitfeld in her op-ed titled “After working at Google, I’ll never let myself love a job again” wrote how she was forced to have one-on-one meetings with her harasser and made to sit next to him.

“Every time I asked for an update on the timeline and expressed my discomfort at having to continue to work in proximity to my harasser, the investigators said that I could seek counseling, work from home or go on leave. I later learned that Google had similar responses to other employees who reported racism or sexism,” she wrote.

The letter also alleged that Neitfeld’s case is not the first case that take place in Google, the company has a history of protecting the harasser instead of protecting the person who is harassed. “The person who reports harassment is forced to bear the burden, usually leaving Alphabet while their harasser stays or is rewarded for their behavior,” the letter read.

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Shockingly, Andy Rubin, the creator of Android mobile software, was awarded a $90 million exit package after a woman accused him of coercing her into performing oral sex. Amit Singhal, a former search executive, was awarded $35 million when he was forced to resign after a sexual assault investigation.

Notably, in 2018, more than 20,000 Google employees protested against the sexual harassment cases and against the protection of harassers. But the letter reveals that the company has not changed its policies and did not meet any of the Google Walkout demands. The employees demanded the company to prioritize the safety of their workers by prioritizing the concerns of those harmed.

Arguing against the allegation, the search engine giant said in a statement that the company has made improvements, “We’ve made significant improvements to our overall process, including the way we handle and investigate employee concerns, and introducing new care programmes for employees who report concerns,” the statement read.

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