Google reforms sexual harassment policies after mass employee protest
Accepting one of the major demands of the employees, Google has announced that it will no longer force employees with sexual assault or harassment claims into arbitration.
Taking note of the mass walkout and protest of its employees across the globe over the handling of sexual harassment cases, Google has reportedly announced a number of internal changes in the company.
According to media reports, CEO Sundar Pichai on Thursday sent out a mail to all employees in this regard.
“Google's leaders and I have heard your feedback and have been moved by the stories you've shared. We recognise that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that. It's clear we need to make some changes,” reports quoted Pichai as saying in the email.
Accepting one of the major demands of the employees, Google has announced that it will no longer force employees with sexual assault or harassment claims into arbitration. Arbitration will now be optional under the new policy.
"We will make arbitration optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims. Google has never required confidentiality in the arbitration process and arbitration still may be the best path for a number of reasons (e.g. personal privacy) but, we recognize that choice should be up to you," Pichai is said to written in the mail.
Reportedly, Google has also decided to provide more detail about sexual misconduct cases in internal reports available to all employees. The details will include the number of cases substantiated and the list of the types of punishment imposed, including fines and pay cuts.
Further, Pichai said the company will update and expand its sexual harassment training, and employees are now required to complete training annually instead of every two years. It will also overhaul how it deals with employee concerns.
Google has also taken into account the need to control alcohol consumption, which is often associated with harassment complaints.
The company reportedly specified, "harassment is never acceptable and alcohol is never an excuse." Leaders at the company are "expected to create teams, events, offsites and environments in which excessive alcohol consumption is strongly discouraged," the memo read.
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