More than 500 Alphabet employees demand that Google stop protecting bullying in an open letter

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More than 500 Alphabet employees have one open letter demand that Google stop protecting the topics of harassment complaints. The move comes two days after former Google engineer Emi Nietfeld wrote an opinion piece The New York Times claimed she was forced to have one-on-one conversations with the man who was bothering her – and sit next to him in the office – even after she filed an HR complaint.

“This is a long pattern where Alphabet protects the perpetrator instead of protecting the person harmed by the harassment,” the letter reads. “The person reporting harassment is forced to bear the burden and usually leaves Alphabet while the perpetrator stays or is rewarded for his behavior.”

Employees formulate two requirements in the letter. First, that Google takes bullying from their direct reports and ensures that “no perpetrator should manage or lead a team.” Second, they force bullying to switch teams when the claims are verified so that employees don’t have to work alongside their bully.

“I’m thrilled to see this letter,” Nietfeld said in a phone interview with The edge“It reminds me how great some of my former colleagues were and why I loved working with them. Google hires so many people who are passionate about doing the right thing. It’s such a shame if the system prevents them. “

Andrew Gainer-Dewar, a Google software engineer and member of the Alphabet Workers Union, says Nietfeld’s experience underscores the need for collective action. “Someone credibly accused of harassment should certainly not direct people,” he says The edge‘And someone who has been found it to harass people should definitely not be people. “

Nietfeld’s story highlights the concerns expressed by Google employees in the 2018 aftermath of the Andy Rubin scandalRubin, who co-founded Android, was paid $ 90 million despite a credible sexual misconduct allegation. When these allegations came to light, 20,000 Google employees walked out to protest the company’s approach to sexual harassment.

One of the demands of the organizers of the strike was an end to the forced arbitration clause in Google contracts. While Google has removed the employee clause, it has not been removed for contractors or employees at other Alphabet companies.

The letter directly mentions this omission. “Alphabet has not changed and failed to meet Google Walkout requirements (agency workers, salespeople, contractors and employees of Alphabet companies other than Google are still being forced into arbitration),” the letter said. “We have raised these issues before. Google Walkout’s demands are still waiting to be fulfilled! “

In a statement to The edge, a Google spokesperson stressed that the company has changed its handling of bullying claims since the strike occurred. “We have made significant improvements to our overall process, including the way we handle and investigate employee concerns, and introduce new care programs for employees who report concerns,” said a spokesperson. “Reporting misconduct takes courage and we will continue our work to improve our processes and support the people who do it.”