Google: the difference of a day

Hot on the heels of Google topping the rankings in the Reputation Institutes’ survey of Millennials, the company has experienced a walk out of staff over sexual harassment claims.

Globally staff are walking out over company's treatment of women and follows earlier claims of misconduct, lack of diversity and the mishandling of the James Damore case. However, the key events that sparked the protest were the allegation that an executive received a pay-out of $90m on leaving the company despite claims of sexual misconduct and another executive resigning without investigation after claims of unwanted advances.

Google is in a difficult position, it is a high profile company and it cannot merely defer to the legal system having set a precedent over Damore. It now places itself as its own rapid reaction judge before legal proceedings – that then may or may not take place. However in attempting to cater to the different views of its employees and stakeholders it has created a situation in which it may not be able to win, and leaves it accused of a ‘lack of transparency.’ Except none of this appears to have actually had an effect on its global reputation – according to the Reputation Institute – which does lead to questions of whether some issues are seen as ‘internal’ and only a select few as having any impact to consumers.

Certainly the protesters are serious in demands for a more fair and transparent workplace, especially when concerned with issues of sexual harassment, but interestingly one demand they make is to elevate the chief diversity officer to answer directly to the CEO.

There is also a trend for collective action in technology companies, and in earlier events there was a demand from workers to stop the company’s work with the US Department of Defense on its Project Maven.

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