Ideally, employees in California and throughout the country would not hesitate to report instances of harassment and discrimination to their employers. However, this is typically not the case at Google as workers there say that they were retaliated against after filing complaints with HR. Employees said that they were taken off of projects or reassigned elsewhere in the company. A memo said that the company generally chose to hide sexual harassment complaints when they involved members of the management team.
In November 2018, roughly 20,000 employees took part in a walkout to protest its handling of executives accused of sexual assault. Prior to the walkout, it had been revealed that those executives had been paid more than $100 million. In response, Google said that it would make changes to its sexual harassment reporting policies and show greater support for those who reported it.
However, employees claim that filing a compliant makes it harder for them to advance in their careers. They say that speaking out leads to punishment either from the HR department or from their managers. Several engineers who have left the company claim that they were told to resign or take sick leave after participating in the November 2018 walkout. One woman said that she was forced to leave the company immediately after making her resignation public because of a supposedly phony policy.
Employers are not supposed to retaliate against those who make a sexual harassment claim. Individuals who are terminated, demoted or otherwise treated differently after doing so may be entitled to compensation or other relief. This relief could include being reinstated to a position with full pay, benefits and seniority. An attorney may help an employee negotiate a settlement or file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.