Google updates sexual harassment policies following protest

Galtero Lara
Noviembre 9, 2018

A week after Google workers around the globe walked off their jobs to protest reportedly lenient treatment of executives accused of sexual misconduct, the internet giant is promising change.

Google employees will now be able to more freely speak out over issues of sexual harassment at the firm.

"We recognize that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that".

"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.

"We will make arbitration optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims", Mr Pichai wrote.

"Going forward, we will provide more transparency on how we handle concerns", Pichai said in a note addressed to employees.

Responding to demands from the around 20,000 workers who protested last week, the company has said it will end the practice of "forced arbitration" in cases of sexual harassment.

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

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.

The company will also revise the manner in which it will probe employee concerns, including streamlining reporting channels, allowing staff to be accompanied by support persons and offering extra care and resources like counselling and career support during and after the process.

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

Google got caught in the crosshairs two weeks ago after The New York Times detailed allegations of sexual misconduct against the creator of Google's Android software, Andy Rubin. That's happening externally, with increased scrutiny by regulators and politicians, and internally with reports and rising complaints about Google's permissive culture when it comes to executive conduct and relationships with co-workers.

The changes didn't go far enough to satisfy Vicki Tardif Holland, a Google employee who helped organize and spoke at the protests near the company's Cambridge, Massachusetts, office last week.

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