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Google walkout organizer quits job over 'retaliation'

The technology giant answered by saying it found "no evidence of retaliation."

By Danielle Haynes
Google walkout organizer quits job over 'retaliation'
Claire Stapleton said she was demoted after the Google walkout but the company disputes accusations of retaliation. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

June 7 (UPI) -- One of the organizers of an employee-led walkout at Google last year left her job, saying Friday that she experienced retaliation, something the tech company denies.

In a blog post on Medium, Claire Stapleton said she left her job as a YouTube marketing manager this week because company leaders have targeted her since the global walkout in November.

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"The heads of my department branded me with a kind of scarlet letter that makes it difficult to do my job or find another one," Stapleton wrote. "If I stayed, I didn't just worry that there'd be more public flogging, shunning and stress, I expected it."

Stapleton, who spent 12 years with Google and YouTube, first came forward with the retaliation allegations in April. She said she had been demoted and been told to take a medical leave though she wasn't sick.

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She said she believes the actions against her and other employees involved with organizing the walkout, were designed to discourage similar actions in the future.

Google disputes Stapleton's allegations of retaliation.

"We thank Claire for her work at Google and wish her all the best," a spokesperson told Engadget. "To reiterate, we don't tolerate retaliation. Our employee relations team did a thorough investigation of her claims and found no evidence of retaliation. They found that Claire's management team supported her contributions to our workplace, including awarding her their team Culture Award for her role in the Walkout."

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The Google walkout called for several changes -- an end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination, pay and opportunity equality, and a clear process for reporting sexual misconduct. Protesters also wanted the company's chief diversity officer to answer directly to the CEO and an employee representative to be placed on Google's board.

The walkout happened one day after Rich DeVaul, an executive with Google parent company Alphabet, resigned amid sexual harassment accusations. But treatment of female employees at Google was a contentious issue before the DeVaul scandal. Female employees have said, among other complaints, that they are underpaid compared to male counterparts.

"We don't want to feel we're unequal or not respected anymore," Stapleton said at the time. "Google's famous for its culture. But in reality we're not even meeting the basics of respect, justice and fairness for every single person here."

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