Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

Google revising sexual harassment policies after worker backlash

Google revising sexual harassment policies after worker backlash

Will it be enough to quell concerns? "It's clear we need to make some changes", Pichai stated in his emailed memo.

Pichai's comments come after the company's controversial attempt to launch a censored search product in China - known as Project Dragonfly - triggered an outcry among employees and USA politicians amid an escalating trade war and concerns over freedom of speech.

In the letter, Pichai said Google would take the following steps: make arbitration available for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims; overhaul its report channels and provide live support; allow anyone reporting harassment to be accompanied by a support person; and offer "extra care and resources for Googlers during and after the process", including counseling and career support.

Mandatory sexual harassment training will also be updated and expanded with those not completing training receiving a docking of their performance rating. When previously confronted with accusations that it shortchanges women - made by the U.S. Labor Department and in lawsuits filed by female employees -Google has maintained that its compensation system doesn't discriminate between men and women.

Going forward, all leaders at the company - Directors, VPs and SVPs - will be expected to create teams, events, offsites and environments in which excessive alcohol consumption is strongly discouraged.

Further, Google says it will implement an Investigations Practice Guide that will outline how investigations will be handled and what employees can expect from the process. The company's chief diversity officer Danielle Brown has not been elevated to report directly to the CEO, and employees have not been granted board representation.

Google is not meeting the request to publicly release a sexual harassment transparency report.

"Last year, we published our harassment policy - https://peoplepractices.fb.com/harassment-policy/ - because we believe that the more companies are open about their policies, the more we can all learn from one another".

An estimated 20,000 Google employees and contractors took part in the protests across 50 cities worldwide on 1 November. They had also called on Alphabet to add an employee to its board and share gender-related pay data, neither of which Pichai addressed. The New York Times reported last month that Google had suppressed allegations of sexual misconduct against several of its executives, and had reportedly paid one executive $90 million when he left the company after a sexual misconduct investigation deemed allegations against him were credible.

Optional arbitration for claims on sexual harassment and sexual assault.

"We have the eyes of many companies looking at us", said Tanuja Gupta, one of the walkout's organizers in NY last week.

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