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Google bows to worker pressure on sexual misconduct policy

09 November 2018

Among the measures announced are the introduction of optional arbitration for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims.

In an email to staff on Thursday, Mr Pichai said: "Over the past few weeks Google's leaders and I have heard your feedback and have been moved by the stories you've shared".

Google bowed to one of the protesters' main demands by dropping mandatory arbitration of all sexual misconduct cases.

"We recognize that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that".

Google Canada's country manager says she shares the same "frustration" as the thousands of employees who staged a global walkout at the tech giant last week to protest its alleged mistreatment of women and mishandling of sexual misconduct.

"But one of the most common factors among the harassment complaints made today at Google is that the perpetrator had been drinking".

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The company also said in a longer document that it would be changing the way it conducts internal investigations, noting that there would now be a "global process that will allow Googlers to be accompanied by a companion during an HR investigation, or when raising/reporting any harassment or discrimination concerns to HR".

As a result, he said, the company will provide more transparency about how it handles concerns in the future, including by giving better support and care to people who raise them. "And we will double down on our commitment to be a representative, equitable, and respectful workplace".

In a letter sent to all employees, the company's chief executive Sundar Pichai said Google was updating its rules, including introducing a drinking limit for staff.

But the Tech Workers Coalition, which backed last week's action, said the measures did not go almost far enough, particularly where it related to contractors who worked with the firm.

Google said employees will now be required to undergo sexual harassment training annually, instead of every two years currently.

The protest began last week after The New York Times reported on allegations of sexual misconduct about Andy Rubin, the creator of Google's Android software, who allegedly received a $90 million severance package in 2014 after Google concluded the assault claims were credible.

Google bows to worker pressure on sexual misconduct policy