Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Google says it will reform sexual misconduct rules

Sundar Pichai Sundar PichaiMore
Ivan Hill | 09 November, 2018, 18:02

Google employees walked out of the company's offices around the world on November 1 in protest of the search giant's handling of sexual harassment claims - specifically at the executive level.

"We'll give better support and care to the people who raise them", said Pichai.He said that Google will take more powerful steps to address sexual harassment, including making arbitration optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims.

Pichai also said Google will provide more details around sexual harassment investigations and outcomes, as well as improving processes used to handle such concerns, including the ability for its employees to be accompanied by a support person.

"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".

The company's reporting channels will reevaluated, starting next year, and the biz intends to take a more active role in overseeing complaints against or by temps, contractors, and vendors.

Google is also updating and expanding its mandatory sexual harassment training, with consequences for those who do not complete it.

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"Harassment is never acceptable and alcohol is never an excuse", Google said in a released action statement. 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. Google states that "excessive consumption of alcohol is not permitted when you are at work, performing Google business, or attending a Google-related event, whether onsite or offsite". "We've always been a vanguard company, so if we don't lead the way, nobody else will".

Pichai sent out an email to all Google employees this morning, and in the sake of trying to be more transparent with the public on these matters, shared it in the form of a blog post for everyone to see.

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

Pichai committed to several of those changes, but a demand to have an employee representative appointed to the board was not addressed.

Demands posted by organisers included an end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination for all current and future employees, along with a right for every Google worker to bring a co-worker, representative, or supporter when filing a harassment claim. It will offer extended counseling, support for accommodations and leaves, and it will put together a team of advisors on the Employee Relations team focused on sexual harassment and discrimination claims.

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