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article imageOp-Ed: Google vs women? Something sane might happen!

By Paul Wallis     Nov 3, 2018 in Business
San Francisco - The recent global walkout of Google’s female workforce underlines a major legal issue, as well as corporate malaise. Some of the walkout issues are in-house, some are much more significant. This is #WeToo, in many ways.
The story of the walkout is straightforward enough, and well worth reading. Women are protesting about sexual harassment, and they mean business. Despite some fears of possible retaliation from Google, they went ahead with their protest, and made some specific statements about what they want done.
They’re as much against the company’s policy on sexual harassment as the practices involved. An alleged perpetrator was let go with a $90 million get-well package, for example, if those numbers are to be believed. There are also the usual anti-minorities allegations, and other not very appealing issues in this mix.
The Google women are also very mindful of the importance of taking a stand in the wider sense. They clearly expect Google, a leader in the corporate world, to take them seriously, and respond appropriately.
That may be a realistic expectation, for a nice change. Google made a name long ago as a high end employer, offering excellent conditions. Google is, in fact, preparing for a review of the issues, and given the clear conflict with the company’s stated ethos, there’s a reasonable chance things will get done.
A few major elephants in the room
There’s another issue, which is somewhere between collateral damage and a chronic corporate constipation which affects American corporations involved here. #MeToo is pointing out a whole continuum of incredibly stupid corporate culture.
• Sexual harassment is actionable at law. It’s an unbelievably stupid thing to do. Many people I’ve seen in the #MeToo scenarios have very good cases with lots of evidence. They’d win any damages case they tried.
• Sexual harassment is totally irresponsible as well as legally dumb, professionally unethical and unarguably pathetic in terms of male behaviour. Do you really want to hire proven losers/idiots as senior executives?
• Getting your balls in a beartrap by doing dumb sexual things also makes you a corporate risk. Can you trust an executive who’s so dumb he doesn’t even know if his pants are on or off? No.
• Even in a culture of “transactional relationships” (charming expression, sleazy as hell), reality says be careful who or what you’re having “transactions” with. These relationships are not only dangerous, they’re sucker bait for the astonishingly stupid. How do you know you’re not being set up, and why are you too stupid to figure it out? This isn’t harassment, but it can be made to look like it. That’s assuming your transactional acquaintance doesn’t decide to blackmail the crap out of you.
Forget the totally unsustainable, not to say infantile, “boys will be boys”. This is about “idiots will be idiots”, and it’s bad for everyone. Maybe Google doesn’t need to be told that, but corporate America obviously does.
Beyond the human misery and downright oppression of women which seems to be the norm in these cases - These ladies may have just hit a major tipping point for one of America’s least impressive corporate cultural atrocities. Let’s hope so, for the sake of the future. Because it’s not going to be much of a future otherwise.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Google sexual harassment walkout 2018, Sexual harassment, United States corporate culture, metoo
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