Employees at Google's Boulder campus joined their colleagues at the company's campuses and offices across the world in walking out Thursday to protest the tech giant's mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations against executives.

At 11 a.m. Thursday, a few hundred employees gathered outside at the Google's Boulder campus, 2930 Pearl St. The protest comes in the wake of a New York Times piece detailing years of sexual harassment allegations and multimillion dollar severance packages for the accused men.

"I'm pissed off," said Google employee Mal Gilbert. "I thought we were better than that."

Some employees at the Boulder campus got up and told personal stories of sexism within the workplace while others issued messages of support.

Google employee Coleen Elliot addresses the crowd Thursday during the Boulder Google Campus "Walkout For Real Change." Employees walked out from
Google employee Coleen Elliot addresses the crowd Thursday during the Boulder Google Campus "Walkout For Real Change." Employees walked out from their jobs to protest and ask for change to Google's handling of sexual harassment allegations. (Paul Aiken / Staff photographer)

Keni Herman carried a sign that said "My outrage can't fit on this sign."

"I was really disappointed," Herman said of reading the New York Times story. "We here at Google hold ourselves to a higher standard. And I expect that from the company, too."

Employees at the Boulder campus joined walkouts staged at offices from Tokyo and Singapore to London and New York, with more expected to do so in California.

The organizers said Google has publicly championed diversity and inclusion but hasn't done enough to put words into action.

In an unsigned statement from organizers, the Google protesters called for an end to forced arbitration in harassment and discrimination cases, a practice that requires employees to give up their right to sue and often includes confidentiality agreements.


They also want Google to commit to ending pay inequity, issue a report on sexual harassment inside the company and adopt a clearer process for reporting complaints.

Herman said she hopes the walkouts would help show the company employees were serious.

"We have our demands, and it is important we bring attention to them," she said.

Gilbert also said it was a way of showing support not just for victims of sexual misconduct at Boulder, but at other companies in the midst of the #MeToo era.

"It's showing solidarity," she said. "We need to support those people, and not just the ones at our company."

The New York Times story that sparked the protests detailed allegations of sexual misconduct about the creator of Google's Android software, Andy Rubin. The report said Rubin received a $90 million severance package in 2014 even after Google concluded the sexual misconduct allegations against him were credible.

Rubin denied the allegations in a tweet.

The story also disclosed allegations of sexual misconduct against other executives, including Richard DeVaul, a director at the Google-affiliated lab that created such projects as self-driving cars and internet-beaming balloons. DeVaul had remained at the "X" lab after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced about him a few years ago, but he resigned Tuesday without severance, Google said.

Employees at Google’s campus in Boulder staged a walkout Thursday to protest what they called the tech company’s mishandling of sexual
Employees at Google's campus in Boulder staged a walkout Thursday to protest what they called the tech company's mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations against executives. (Mitchell Byars / Staff reporter)

Google CEO Sundar Pichai apologized for the company's "past actions" in an email sent to employees Tuesday.

"I understand the anger and disappointment that many of you feel," Pichai wrote. "I feel it as well, and I am fully committed to making progress on an issue that has persisted for far too long in our society ... and, yes, here at Google, too."

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.

Pichai indicated that Google wouldn't interfere with protest plans and would ensure that "you have the support you need."

In an email last week, Pichai and Eileen Naughton, Google's executive in charge of personnel issues, sought to reassure employees that the company had cracked down on sexual misconduct since Rubin's departure four years ago.

Among other things, Pichai and Naughton said Google had fired 48 employees, including 13 senior managers, for sexual harassment in recent years without giving any of them severance packages.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mitchell Byars: 303-473-1329, byarsm@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/mitchellbyars