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Googler who organized 20,000-person walkout quits, claims 'retaliation'

The person who was largely responsible for the Google walkout late last year has left the company.

Published onJune 7, 2019

google logo big g at mwc 2019
  • One of the people responsible for last year’s Google walkout has quit her job at the company after over a decade.
  • The walkout was in protest of Google’s sexual harassment policies and payouts to former executives.
  • The walkout organizer claims she faced retaliation from Google.

The person who was largely responsible for the Google walkout late last year has left the company.

Last year, Claire Stapleton helped convince 20,000 Google employees to walk off the job for a day in protest over the company’s handling of sexual harassment claims. Now she is quitting her job at Google due to what she refers to as retaliation from the company for that walkout.

In a Medium post published today, Stapleton recalls her immense satisfaction with working at Google from 2007 to 2012. However, she then says that sometime around 2017 she noticed that the company had changed in various ways and she was less happy working with the search giant.

In 2018, when news broke about payouts Google gave to Andy Rubin — despite multiple sexual harassment allegations against him — Stapleton had had enough. That’s when she and fellow Googler Meredith Whittaker organized the previously mentioned Google walkout.

As promised, Google employees stage walkout in response to sexual misconduct allegations

After the hullabaloo surrounding the walkout died down, Stapleton was demoted. She claims this was a thinly-veiled form of retaliation for organizing the Google walkout. Google denies this to be true.

Now, Stapleton has officially left Google after over a decade with the company.

“I made the choice after the heads of my department branded me with a kind of scarlet letter that makes it difficult to do my job or find another one,” Stapleton writes in her post. “If I stayed, I didn’t just worry that there’d be more public flogging, shunning, and stress, I expected it.”

In a statement from a Google spokesperson, the company had this to say: “[Google doesn’t] tolerate retaliation. Our employee relations team did a thorough investigation of [Stapleton’s] claims and found no evidence of retaliation. They found that Claire’s management team supported her contributions to our workplace, including awarding her their team Culture Award for her role in the Walkout.”

Last month, hundreds of Googlers took place in a sit-in to protest the supposed retaliation against Stapleton.

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