Google employees held a sit-in at individual offices around the world on Wednesday to protest what they considered retaliation against employees who spoke out against the company and their managers.
Reportedly, the sit-in was promoted by two employees -- Meredith Whittaker, who leads Google’s Open Research team, and Claire Stapleton, social media marketing manager at YouTube - -who helped organize the November walkouts.
They were reportedly demoted and forced to give up some of their duties after they helped organize November walkouts to call attention to sexual harassment at the company, according to one report.
Stapleton allegedly wrote in an email to Google employees that her manager began ignoring her, and her work was given to other people. Her manager also told her to go on medical leave, although she is not sick.
Whittaker also wrote in a post to an internal Google mailing list that after the company shut down its external AI ethics council she would need to give up her work on AI ethics and her role at AI Now Institute, a research center she cofounded at New York University.
Wired published the full text of the letter.
Whittaker also took to Twitter on Wednesday, tweeting: "Hundreds of people showed up to the @google NYC anti-retaliation sit-in, planned in under 24hrs. So many brave people shared their stories. There were tears and talk of unions. #NotOkGoogle"
It begins with the managers. This type of treatment is not uncommon across the U.S. Prior to becoming a journalist, while working at a computer distributor based in Santa Ana, California at the time, I saw the same treatment of employees.