Google ends forced arbitration after sex-misconduct protest | Digital
Google ends forced arbitration after sex-misconduct protest | Digital
Google employees protested over claims executives were paid off to leave following sexual harassment claims
09 November, 2018, 18:04
Google on Thursday vowed to be more forceful and open about its handling of sexual harassment cases, with CEO Sundar Pichai spelling out the concessions in an email Thursday to Google employees.
Pichai released a public memo in which he said that arbitration, a quasi-legal private dispute resolution process that often favors corporations over individuals, would now be "optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims".
"We will enhance the processes we use to handle concerns, including the ability for Googlers to be accompanied by a support person", Pichai said.
Moving forward, Pichai said Google will be more transparent about how they handle concerns and be more supportive of those who raise them.
The organizers behind the Google walkouts published a list of actionable demands, including ending forced arbitration for harassment and discrimination and a "commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity". 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.
Also of interest is Google's stance on alcohol.
And next year, all employees will be required to complete sexual harassment training annually. Employee-gathered data suggests the company pays men more than women; Google takes issue with those figures and argues women at the company make 99.7 cents for every dollar men make. The company will also provide more support to employees who report, including counseling and allowing them to bring a companion with them during HR investigations.
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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.
"We demand a truly equitable culture, and Google leadership can achieve this by putting employee representation on the board and giving full rights and protections to contract workers", organiser Stephanie Parker said in the statement.
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.
"We have an aspiration to be the best company in the world", Rodriguez said.
Google says it will hold managers responsible for discouraging excessive drinking, not just in the office, but at any party or event where employees get together. A New York Times report spurred the protests after it revealed that Google gave a $90-million exit package to a top executive in 2014 after he was accused of sexual harassment.
"Over the past few weeks Google's leaders and I have heard your feedback and have been moved by the stories you've shared.It's clear we need to make some changes", Pichai said.
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