Google announces new sexual harassment policies after mass protest by staff

Sundar Pichai

Sundar Pichai

Campaigners hope the promised overhaul of how Google handles issues around sexual harassment will remove a culture of secrecy that saw one high-profile engineer leave the company with an $90m pay out, despite "credible" claims of inappropriate behaviour.

"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", he wrote.

However, Pichai's email said the company will "provide more granularity around sexual harassment investigations and outcomes at the company as part of our Investigations Report".

Promising more transparency on how it handles harassment allegations, Pichai said Google will double down on its commitment to be a "representative, equitable, and respectful workplace".

Google will also publicly share its policies on harassment, discrimination, retaliations, standards of conduct and workplace concerns. 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. Women account for 31 per cent of Google's employees worldwide, and it's lower for leadership roles. The company also promises to revamp its reporting process "to ensure claims are handled with empathy and care, and that individuals bringing forward concerns are heard". 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.

The global walkout spread to many countries in Europe, North America and Asia, including Britain, Singapore, Japan, Germany, and Google's headquarters in Mountain View in northern California.

Some 20,000 Google employees and contractors participated in the protest in 50 cities around the world, according to organisers.

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

Pichai committed to several of those changes, but a demand to have an employee representative appointed to the board was not addressed. "We've always been a vanguard company, so if we don't lead the way, nobody else will".

The measures, Mr Pichai said, will increase transparency around instances of sexual harassment, expand mandatory training, and offer increased support for those with claims.

When a complaint goes into arbitration, an employee waives their right to sue.

Payne Capital Management's Michelle McKinnon and EventShares Chief Investment Officer Ben Phillips on Google employees staging a walkout to protest sexual misconduct allegations at the company and the outlook for the tech sector.

Recommended News

  • Deaths feared as wildfire engulfs North California town

    Deaths feared as wildfire engulfs North California town

    The wildfire was reported around daybreak. "It's a very unsafe and very serious situation", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said. Other witnesses reported seeing homes, supermarkets, businesses, restaurants, schools and a retirement home engulfed in flames.
    Five Keys: Cavaliers at Magic

    Five Keys: Cavaliers at Magic

    Orlando has to overcome solid performances from Cleveland's George Hill (22 points) and Tristan Thompson (19 points, 16 rebounds). Once again, the Cavs just had to get the ball in and accept a foul to have free throws to make it a three-point game again.
    US Immigration Officials Move to Deny Asylum at Border 8 November 2018

    US Immigration Officials Move to Deny Asylum at Border 8 November 2018

    It's unknown whether those in the caravan, many fleeing violence in their homeland, plan to cross illegally. And in the last five years, the number of those requesting asylum has increased by 2,000 percent, it said.
  • Trump vows 'war-like posture' if Democrats investigate him

    Trump vows 'war-like posture' if Democrats investigate him

    Trump has long felt aggrieved by the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Trump, meanwhile, warned that a flood of investigations of his administration would prompt "a warlike posture".
    Facebook Messenger Will Release the New Feature We’ve All Been Waiting for

    Facebook Messenger Will Release the New Feature We’ve All Been Waiting for

    We reported back in October about the functionality, pointing out the benefits and disadvantages of the Unsend messages option. WhatsApp lets you do it - if you've sent a message by mistake, you've got a window of time within which you can delete it .
    Helge Ingstad: Warship collides with tanker in fjord

    Helge Ingstad: Warship collides with tanker in fjord

    The tanker, now in port undergoing inspection, was not damaged in the incident and none of its 23-member crew injured. After colliding with the Malta-flagged tanker Sola TS and the tug Tenax, the frigate started taking on water.
  • Ozone Layer Could Be Completely Healed By The 2060s

    Ozone Layer Could Be Completely Healed By The 2060s

    This year, the ozone hole over the South Pole peaked at almost 9.6 million square miles (24.8 million square kilometers). NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center's chief earth scientist and co-head of the report said, "This is really good news".

    Melbourne attack: Man arrested after fire and stabbings

    James Gargasoulas is accused of deliberately driving his auto into pedestrians on Bourke Street, hitting 33 people. The fire was brought under control within about five minutes, a Metropolitan Fire Brigade spokeswoman said.
    Loved ones trying to reach those missing since Thousand Oaks shooting

    Loved ones trying to reach those missing since Thousand Oaks shooting

    Tamera's twin sister, Tia Mowry-Hardict , shared her shock and horror about the news on social media as well. God bless all of the victims and families of the victims.
  • One dead, two injured, in Melbourne stabbing incident

    One dead, two injured, in Melbourne stabbing incident

    Later, a man was arrested after he was shot at the scene and taken to a hospital under police guard in a critical condition. Police later said the two wounded men were aged 26 and 58. "The exact circumstances are yet to be determined".
    Arsenal 0-0 Sporting: Keown hammers Aubameyang after Europa League draw

    Arsenal 0-0 Sporting: Keown hammers Aubameyang after Europa League draw

    And while Nelson may not be a ready-made replacement for Welbeck, Emery says he is keeping a keen eye on his progress. Welbeck sustained the injury when landing heavily on his ankle after challenging for a header in the 30th minute.
    Berkeley Fire Department responding to fires in Oakland, Butte County

    Berkeley Fire Department responding to fires in Oakland, Butte County

    She and her husband grabbed their dog, jumped in their pickup truck and drove through flames before getting to safety, she said. May said that BFD has sent a strike team of 5 engines led by a battalion chief to support firefighters in Butte County.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.