Google Changed Its Sexual Harassment Policies, But It Could Have Gone Further

11 November, 2018, 19:56 | Author: Gerard Cortez
  • Google walkout

Google changed some policies on sexual misconduct after thousands of employees walked out of their offices last week to protest big payouts for executives accused of harassment and other misbehavior.

In an attempt to address a key criticism of how the company failed to adequately deal with sexual assault claims when made against senior management, the CEO said Google will make arbitration optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims.

Other commitments which Google has agreed to include the provision of regular, detailed reports about the occurrence of harassment claims and whether they led to the dismissal of staff members involved, and the publication of an internal guide on the investigation processes of harassment cases in the company and others.

Employees must annually receive sexual harassment training, rather than the current agreement of every two years.

"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 recognize that choice should be up to you", Pichai's email said.

Google is not meeting the request to publicly release a sexual harassment transparency report. New Google employees (Nooglers) will also get an extra dose of education on the subject.

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

The walkout, which took place on November 1, saw approximately 20,000 employees leave their Google offices around the globe at 11:10 a.m. local time.

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With 80,050 employess (Q1 2018), Google has a market cap of over $748 billion (€656 billion).

The Google protest organizers last week demanded an end to forced arbitration, a single system for anonymously reporting harassment and a promise that the chief diversity officer would report directly to the CEO. The protesters demanded that women be paid the same as men for doing similar work, something that Google has steadfastly maintained that it has been doing for years.

In addition, the company will expect its leaders to foster environments in which excessive alcohol consumption is "strongly" discouraged.

"We will impose more onerous actions if problems persist", Google said.

"We demand a truly equitable culture, and Google leadership can achieve this by putting employee representation on the board and giving full rights and protections to contract workers, our most vulnerable workers, many of whom are black and brown women", Organizer Stephanie Parker said in a statement.

Ultimately, the freedom of employees to go public with sexual harassment claims should they choose to will shed some much-needed light on a situation that has been allowed to fester in the dark far too long.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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