Google ends forced arbitration after sex-misconduct protest | Digital

Google CEO announces new action plan following Andy Rubin fiasco

Google updates sexual harassment policies following protest

Will it be enough to quell concerns?

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has promised changes to the tech giant's sexual harassment policies, a week after thousands of its employees across the world, including in India, walked out in protest against the company reportedly shielding some top executives accused of sexual misconduct.

"We demand a truly equitable culture", organizer Stephanie Parker wrote in response to Pichai's November 8 email, "and Google leadership can achieve this by putting employee representation on the board and giving full rights and protections to contract workers, our most vulnerable workers, many of whom are Black and Brown women".

"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. Those who don't comply will be docked one rating in the year-end Perf (Google's performance review system).

Google employees walked out in protest.

It mirrors a change made by ride-hailing service Uber after complaints from its women employees prompted an internal investigation concluding its rank had been poisoned by rampant sexual harassment.

Google leadership also held a town-hall style meeting with employees following the publication of Pichai's memo on Thursday, the CNBC reported. 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.

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From now on, the website will publish a report containing details of sexual harassment cases brought by workers.

The last couple of weeks haven't been great ones for Google. Google says it will annually release a report on offenses that were and were not fireable. The protesters demanded that women be paid the same as men for doing similar work, something that Google has steadfastly maintained that it has been doing for years. For example, many teams have already put two-drink limits in place for events.

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. It does not, as the organizers asked, create a position for a worker representative on the Board of Directors.

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

The walkouts had five stated goals, including stopping forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination, equity in pay and opportunities, a "publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report" and improved processes for reporting sexual misconduct.

The onus will be on leaders to take appropriate steps to restrict any excessive consumption among their teams, and we will impose more onerous actions if problems persist.

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