From searching the internet to accessing email, many people in Wisconsin use Google's products and services on a regular basis. What these users might not know is that the company is dealing with ongoing issues of workplace discrimination. After two women organized a walkout to protest gender discrimination within the company, Google is facing new accusations.
The 2018 walkout involved thousands of employees who work in Google locations across the globe. The protest was organized by two women who said they were fed up with how the company handled sexual harassment claims, gender discrimination and misconduct among senior executives. The walkout garnered the attention of international news stations, but whether it actually helped affect change at the company is unclear. What is clear, the organizers say, is that Google is retaliating against them.
One of the women previously worked as a marketing manager at YouTube, which is owned by Google. She says that after the walkout she was demoted, lost many of her work responsibilities to other people and was told to take medical leave despite not suffering from any illnesses. Her demotion has since been reversed, but only after she took legal action.
The other woman is one of the co-founders of Google's AI Now Institute and also works as the head of its Open Research group. Following the walkout her superiors told her to expect a significant change in her work responsibilities. She was also told that she would have to cease her research into AI ethics if she wanted to protect her employment.
Retaliation is a real and understandable fear for those who are brave enough to speak out against workplace discrimination. However, this does not mean that those in Wisconsin who have experienced discrimination in the workplace should remain quiet. In many situations, victims are able to successfully recover compensation for lost wages and other damages through carefully pursued civil lawsuits.