Alphabet, the parent company of Google, now employs 94,372 people as of its most recent quarter. Overall, Google has about 2,000 people across four offices in India (Hyderabad, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Bangalore). In others, they stayed inside, gathering in lobbies or conference rooms. "And in that way, we totally have the space to walk out and do this today", said Claire Stapleton, a New York-based marketing manager for YouTube and one of the walkout's core organizers. Protesting Google employees want to end Forced Arbitration clauses, increase the transparency around the misconduct policy and safety for women wanting to make a report of sexual harassment.
The backlash comes amid a cultural reckoning over misconduct by men in positions of power, and the technology business has been particularly visible because of a years-long trend of underrepresentation of women in important roles.
DeVaul's departure followed revelations this week by The New York Times that Andy Rubin, creator of the Android software, received a $90 million severance package when he resigned in 2014 amid accusations he coerced a female co-worker into sex.
Mr Rubin denied the allegation in the story, which he also said contained "wild exaggerations" about his compensation.
These included Richard DeVaul, a director at the Google-affiliated lab that created far-flung projects such as self-driving cars and internet-beaming balloons.
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Despite framing itself as a champion of the #MeToo movement thousands of Google employees have staged a walkout to protest the company's failure to address issues of sexual harassment, gender inequality, and pay disparities.
While Pichai admitted that the company is still grappling with questions raised by the report including whether or not employees should be expected to sign confidentiality agreements in cases of sexual harassment, he said that Google hopes to evolve as a company.
"Although it's not necessarily something that's happened to me, I understand that this is something that is real and has impacted so many lives", said associate account strategist Brandon McGhee.
The email didn't mention the reported incidents involving Rubin, DeVaul or anyone else at Google, but Pichai didn't dispute anything in the Times story. The tech giant told the NYT that it had fired 48 people for sexual harassment since 2016, and none of them had been given an exit package.
But Thursday's walkout could signal a significant number of the 94,000 employees working for Google and its corporate parent Alphabet Inc. remained unconvinced the company was doing enough to adhere to Alphabet's own edict urging all employees to "do the right thing".