Monday, 17 February, 2020

Need to Change Harassment Policy: Google Bows to Employee Pressure

Watch Google employees stage global protests Need to Change Harassment Policy: Google Bows to Employee Pressure
Adrian Cunningham | 09 November, 2018, 06:38

"I'm here protesting against harassment in the workplace to make sure we don't protect or support those perpetrators of harassment", one protester told Sky News.

Arbitration of harassment claims will be optional instead of obligatory, according to Pichai, a move that could end anonymous settlements that fail to identify those accused of harassment.

"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.

However, Pichai's email said the company will "provide more granularity around sexual harassment investigations and outcomes at the company as part of our Investigations Report".

What just happened? Last week's massive employee walkout has prompted Google to revise how it handles all aspects of sexual harassment, from assault claims and reporting to support and training.

Employees must annually receive sexual harassment training, rather than the current agreement of every two years. New Google employees (Nooglers) will also get an extra dose of education on the subject.

The walkout organizers say that they're frustrated by Pichai's failure to address key elements of their complaint - for example, widespread pay discrimination. Now, Google, one of the world's most powerful and visible companies, could become a model for how to fix what's broken in tech culture - if it delivers on its promises.

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The update does not address the walkout organizers' demand that the company be transparent about any exit packages awarded to those who are forced out of the company following investigation.

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.

A week after 20,000 employees walked out in protest over sexual misconduct and inequality at Google, the company said Thursday that it will commit to building a safer workplace, which includes ending forced arbitration and increasing its transparency on reported incidents of sexual misconduct.

A massive turnout at the "Googleplex" in Silicon Valley was the final stage of a global walkout that began in Asia and spread to Google offices in Europe.

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. Another request is to have an employee representative on Google's board. "We've always been a vanguard company, so if we don't lead the way, nobody else will".

"But we also have goals as a company and we can´t decide we are going to miss those". The coordinated effort followed reports that Google paid Android creator Andy Rubin $90 million after it had determined that allegations of sexual misconduct levied against him were credible.