Google bends to protestors' demands after sexual harassment 'walkout'

Ruben Ruiz
November 9, 2018

The company said it will no longer require mandatory arbitration of sexual misconduct allegations and will provide more details about sexual misconduct cases in internal reports.

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).

Google will also publicly share its policies on harassment, discrimination, retaliations, standards of conduct and workplace concerns.

"But the issues that contributed to the walkout at Google - the company's controversial work with the Pentagon on artificial intelligence, its apparent willingness to build a censored search engine for China, and above all its handling of sexual harassment accusations against senior managers - proved too large for any one worker to confront alone, even if that worker made mid-six figures", he continued.

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

Google executives overseeing events will be expected to strongly discourage excessive drinking, according to the company, which vowed "onerous actions" if problems persisted.

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.

Geremia says the anger of those who walked out highlights that more women and minorities are needed in tech, but that need isn't unique to the sector.

"For new or vacated positions at the Director level or above, we'll commit to having a diverse slate of candidates on the interview short list", the company says, allowing itself an exception when filling highly specialized roles.

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An estimated 20,000 Google employees and contractors took part in the protests across 50 cities worldwide on 1 November.

"But we also have goals as a company and we can't decide we are going to miss those".

Google on Thursday announced it's reforming the way it handles sexual misconduct cases.

In an unsigned letter, Google protesters demanded an end to forced arbitration in harassment and discrimination cases, which required employees to forfeit their right to sue and typically included a confidentiality agreement.

In a statement organisers commended Google for the response, but said more changes are needed.

"Over the past few weeks Google's leaders and I have heard your feedback and have been moved by the stories you've shared.It's clear we need to make some changes", Pichai said.

Pichai outlined the changes, which align with some of the demands put forward by protesters.

"They all have the same root cause, which is a concentration of power and a lack of accountability at the top", Parker said.

Other reports by GizPress

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