Sunday, 17 February, 2019


Google is making changes following last week's sexual harassment walkout

In Mountain View Dublin New York and more Google employees walked out to protest the way Google handles sexual misconduct allegations Google is making changes following last week's sexual harassment walkout
Hannah Rogers | 09 November, 2018, 18:00

This news, paired with stories about several other men being rewarded for terrible behavior, sparked an internal movement at Google and on November 1, thousands of Google employees around the world walked out of their jobs in protest, demanding change.

"Google has never required confidentiality in the arbitration process and arbitration still may be the best path for a number of reasons (e.g. personal privacy) but, we recognise that choice should be up to you", Mr Pichai wrote.

Google will provide more details about sexual misconduct cases in internal reports available to all employees.

Moving forward, Pichai said Google will be more transparent about how they handle concerns and be more supportive of those who raise them.

"As previously reported, Google allegedly gave former executive Andy Rubin a "hero's farewell" and a "$90 million exit package", despite concluding that sexual harassment allegations against him were "credible".

With regard to training, Google says that starting next year, all employees will be required to complete sexual harassment training annually (it is now required every two years). But Google also included a new measure in its new list of policies that may catch some employees by surprise: a crack down on alcohol at work and after hours, at all work-related functions.

"Harassment is never acceptable and alcohol is never an excuse", Google said in a released action statement.

It will be up to team leaders to take steps to curb excessive drinking among their teams, Google said, noting that further actions will be taken if problems persist. But one of the most common factors among the harassment complaints made today at Google is that the perpetrator had been drinking (~20% of cases).

The company also promised to "recommit" to improving workplace diversity through hiring, retention, and career advancement.

The global walkout spread to many countries in Europe, North America and Asia, including Britain, Singapore, Japan, Germany, and Google's headquarters in Mountain View in northern California.

CEO Sundar Pichai spelled out the concessions in an email sent Thursday to Google employees.

Employees who organized last week's demonstrations estimated that 20,000 workers participated across Alphabet offices in five continents.

When a complaint goes into arbitration, an employee waives their right to sue.

Organisers of the protests had specifically demanded Google put an end to its policy of forced arbitration for sexual misconduct allegations a practice that prevents employees from taking cases to court and is generally criticised for suppressing victims' stories.

Pichai committed to several of those changes, but a demand to have an employee representative appointed to the board was not addressed. It pledged to provide more information to staff about such investigations and the outcomes, and expand mandatory training on the issue.

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