FRANCISCO (Reuters) - About 100 Google U.S. employees concerned
about cyber bullying inside the company have organized into a
group proposing new policies for conduct at the unit of Alphabet
Inc, five people involved in the effort said in recent interviews.
of laptop and mobile device users are seen next to a screen
projection of Google logo in this picture illustration taken
March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
current employees and two others helping to organize the group
said it formed last fall. They said that among its proposals,
which have not previously been reported in detail, are that Google
should tighten rules of conduct for internal forums and hire staff
to enforce them.
said they want to stop inflammatory conversations and personal
attacks on the forums and see punishment for individuals who
regularly derail discussions or leak conversations. The group also
wants Google to list rights and responsibilities for accusers,
defendants, managers and investigators in human resources cases.
group also desires greater protection for employees targeted by
what it views as insincere complaints to human resources used as a
bullying tactic and goading.
organizers said Google should be more attuned to when people
seeking to stir animosity or expressing views opposite the
company’s stated values try to take over discussions about race,
gender and other sensitive subjects.
group is speaking informally to mid-level executives, hoping they
will take up the cause with senior management, organizers said.
Self-described conservatives at Google have also raised their own
split among Google employees reflects growing polarization across
the United States since President Donald Trump was elected. Other
companies and industries have also been hit by corporate scandals
involving diversity and harassment.
counts on open dialogue to strengthen products and morale, and
prides itself on fostering an environment in which subordinates
can challenge managers. Debates about politics and science flow
freely on its private, online discussion boards.
discussions have become more hostile and abusive since an engineer
on internal forums last summer wrote that women are biologically
unsuited for technology jobs. Google fired the engineer, James
Damore, for perpetuating stereotypes, sparking more heated
of the campaign said at least 100 employees have taken part in
private and online discussions of potential fixes. But they also
said Google may wait to change policies until recent lawsuits
filed by Damore and others are resolved.
coworkers and I are having our right to a safe workplace being
endangered,” said staff site reliability engineer Liz Fong-Jones,
one of the lead organizers. She said employees experience stress
and fear of physical reprisal when internal conversations are
leaked to media, sometimes with writers’ names.
spokeswoman Gina Scigliano declined to comment on the proposals
but said the company already limits what employees can say in the
enforce strong policies and work with affected employees to ensure
everyone can do their work free of harassment, discrimination and
bullying,” she said.
Stone, a software engineer at Google who was on disability leave
last year, said he returned in January to an “alien environment”
in which protections for disabled and transgender individuals were
up for debate.
been taken under siege in a war we didn’t even know we’re in, a
war we didn’t even want,” he said. “We want it to stop.”
other employees said they have reduced posting on company forums
out of fear of becoming bigger targets. It is not clear if the
internal harassment debate has affected recruitment and retention
said Google organizers nationwide have received leadership
training and advice on media strategy and labor rights from online
petition service Coworker.org, which has helped employees at
Starbucks Corp and other companies lobby around workplace issues.
conservatives at Google, who often clash with the organizing
group, have made their own proposals, including asking the company
to clarify forum rules and protect employees from retaliation,
according to a wrongful termination lawsuit Damore filed in
attorney, Harmeet Dhillon, said she spoke with current Google
employees and believed an internal “witch hunt” targeting workers
expressing unpopular viewpoints grew aggressive following Trump’s
election in 2016.
reaction to Damore’s memo was not for its opponents to engage in
dialogue or reason with him, but rather to leak his memo, attack
him personally, and work to get him threatened and fired-
casually, unhesitatingly, maliciously,” Dhillon said by email.
by Paresh Dave; Editing by Peter Henderson, Jonathan Weber and