An Alphabet shareholder demanded better whistleblower protections for Google employees, citing 'red flags' over corporate culture

An Alphabet shareholder demanded better whistleblower protections for Google employees, citing 'red flags' over corporate culture
Timnit Gebru, former co-lead of Google's ethical artificial intelligence teamKimberly White/Getty Images
  • A prominent Alphabet shareholder called for a review of Google's whistleblower protections.
  • Trillium Asset Management owns around $140 million worth of Alphabet stock.
  • The move comes after internal disputes between employees and managers spilled into public view.

A prominent shareholder in Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has called on the search giant to introduce better protections for whistleblower employees.

Trillium Asset Management, which reportedly owns around $140 million worth of Alphabet stock, filed a shareholder resolution calling on the company to better workers that speak out against their managers.

The resolution, first reported by The Verge, calls on Alphabet's board of directors to consider a third-party review of its current measures.
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"For years, Alphabet has faced controversies about retaliating against workers," it read, adding that ex-Googlers have reported hostility from the company when raising concerns about "systemic workplace racism and sexism, and projects enabling censorship, surveillance, and war."

It added: "These red flags suggest the potential for culture, ethics, and/or human rights problems internally."

Google has faced months of internal wrangling within its ethical AI team, and accusations that leadership has failed to root our sexism and racism in the workplace.
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Are you a current or former Googler with more to share? You can contact this reporter securely using the encrypted messaging app Signal (+447801985586) or email (mcoulter@businessinsider.com). Reach out using a non-work device.

In December, lead AI ethicist Timnit Gebru said she was fired over an email she sent to an internal company group, and a dispute over an academic paper she was working on. Later that month, diversity recruiter April Christina Curley claimed she had been sacked following a series of disputes with her managers.
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Another researcher on the team, Margaret Mitchell, was subsequently fired for what Google described as "multiple violations" of its rules. And on Tuesday, Samy Bengio, an AI research manager at the company and a world-leading academic in his field, quit the company.

Current and former Googlers have previously spoken out against allegations of sexual misconduct by executives; a censored search engine in China; and its controversial proposed work with the US military.

Following The Verge's report of the story, Margaret Mitchell, the fired AI researcher, wrote on Twitter: "Wow. An incredibly influential company/Google shareholder is calling out what Google did to me and @timnitGebru. Let's hope this does something good!"
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Insider approached Google for comment.

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