Google to overhaul sexual harassment policies following employee walkout

Google CEO announces new action plan following Andy Rubin fiasco

Last week, Google employees at offices around the world staged a walkout over the treatment of women at the company after sexual misconduct claims were made against several senior figures.

"More granularity around sexual harassment investigations and outcomes".

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

Some employers might even pre-emptively adopt some of Google's new policies, given its prestige, said Stephanie Creary, who specializes in workplace and diversity issues at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

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".

Google employees walked out of the company's offices around the world on November 1 in protest of the search giant's handling of sexual harassment claims - specifically at the executive level.

Mandatory sexual harassment training will also be updated and expanded with those not completing training receiving a docking of their performance rating.

"Going forward, we will provide more transparency on how we handle concerns".

The company will also revise the manner in which it will probe employee concerns, including streamlining reporting channels, allowing staff to be accompanied by support persons and offering extra care and resources like counselling and career support during and after the process. Another request is to have an employee representative on Google's board.

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.

On Nov. 1, more than 20,000 Google workers abandoned their cubicles to protest past cases of alleged sexual harassment, following a New York Times report that detailed how the company protected and gave big payouts to male executives accused of misconduct.

In an unsigned letter, Google protesters demanded an end to forced arbitration in harassment and discrimination cases, which required employees to forfeit their right to sue and typically included a confidentiality agreement.

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