A Google engineer got up in front of the board and condemned the firm’s ‘chilling’ diversity failures


Eileen Naughton

A Google engineer got up in front of the board and read a damning statement about the company’s diversity failures.
Irene Knapp said the lack of progress on diversity has had a “chilling” effect on Google’s workforce and left staff “feeling unsafe and unable to do our work.”
The engineer called for executive performance goals to be tied to diversity and inclusion metrics, but it was voted down by investors.
Google HR boss Eileen Naughton said the company wants to increase its proportion of black, Latino, and female workers.

A Google engineer got up in front of the board and read out a damning statement about the company’s “chilling” failure to improve diversity.

Google’s parent company Alphabet held its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday and during the 75-minute event, software engineer Irene Knapp presented a proposal on behalf of investor Zevin Asset Management and “concerned employees.”

In front of CEO Sundar Pichai and former chairman Eric Schmidt, the engineer called for executive performance goals to be tied to diversity and inclusion metrics because of a failure to make progress on the issue.

“The lack of clear, communicated policies and actions to advance diversity and inclusion, with concrete accountability and leadership from senior executives, has left many of us feeling unsafe and unable to do our work,” Knapp said.

“The chilling effect of harassment and doxxing has impaired productivity and company culture. Responses from HR have been inadequate, leaving minority communities unprotected.”

In addition to diversity measures for senior staff, the engineer also said staff expect to see progress on proposals put forward earlier this year. According to the statement, these included improving Google’s code of conduct, stamping out “malicious” leaks, and improving complaints procedures.

The engineer concluded: “Together, we are sending a strong message to Alphabet’s leadership that they must prioritize diversity and inclusion in the interest of all employees and of long-term investor value.”

Ultimately, the proposal was voted down by investors. In response to a question on diversity, Google Vice President of People Operations, Eileen Naughton, said the company wants to increase its proportion of black, Latino, and female workers.

“We are working hard against both hiring and also progression and development of talent and retention of talent. That is a firm leadership commitment,” she said.

Diversity is a hot-button issue at Google, particularly after the company fired engineer James Damore last year for writing a much-debated memo suggesting biological differences between men and women might explain gender inequality in …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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