Workers in California should feel safe and respected in the workplace, but many women do not have this experience. Unfortunately, workplace sexual harassment is still a serious problem that affects women in all different industries and sectors. Female employees in the tech industry say the problem is especially problematic in their chosen career fields. Google’s ongoing sexual harassment scandal is perhaps a excellent example of this.
In Nov. 2018, approximately 20,000 Google employees staged a walkout to protest how their employer had handled accusations of sexual harassment. Google issued an apology and promised to support workers by overhauling its policies regarding sexual misconduct. However, the tech giant does not appear to be doing any better, and victims are reportedly still afraid to report sexual harassment. According to many employees, Google’s reaction to sexual harassment claims is to conceal rather than confront.
At Google, employees can communicate using internal listservs, and victims of harassment have started using this tool to share their experiences. Many of this information details retaliation against women who reported harassment and discrimination. These inter-worker documents are largely used because female employees are scared that they would be risking retaliation and even their careers if they brought their complaints to human resources.
One specific document describes a number of different retaliatory actions. A woman who previously worked as a design publisher says that Google discriminated against her when she took maternity leave. Two of the organizers of last year’s walkout say the retaliation for their actions were so severe that they ended up leaving the company.
Although anyone of any gender can be a victim of discrimination, women tend to face more sexual harassment in the workplace. This kind of harassment can prevent them from moving forward in their careers, causing them to lose out on valuable opportunities like raises, promotions and more. When a California employer retaliates against a victim of sexual harassment or makes it impossible for him or her to even make a report, pursuing a workplace discrimination suit might be the most appropriate course of action.