Google Canada’s country manager says she shares the same “frustration” as the thousands of employees who staged a global walkout at the tech giant last week to protest its alleged mistreatment of women and mishandling of sexual misconduct.
Sabrina Geremia says she feels the walkout, which included workers in Toronto, Montreal and Waterloo, is a “difficult episode,” but that she hopes it will become a “watermark” for the industry.
Speaking at a lunch hosted by the Canadian Club in Toronto, Geremia says Google has taken a much harder line on inappropriate behaviour, especially in the last two years, and that no one is more keen to solve issues around misconduct than its chief executive officer Sundar Pichai.
Pichai has promised to collect feedback from workers after they walked out in the wake of a New York Times story that detailed allegations of sexual misconduct against a handful of Google employees including Android software creator Andy Rubin and Richard DeVaul, a director at Google’s X lab.
Employees who participated in the walkout were demanding an end to forced arbitration in harassment and discrimination cases, a commitment to end pay inequity, publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency reports and a clear policy for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously.
Geremia says the anger of those who walked out highlights that more women and minorities are needed in tech, but that need isn’t unique to the sector.
“It sheds a further light on why we need more diverse perspectives,” she said. “I hope that good will come out of this.”