Google ends mandatory arbitration in sexual harassment cases

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Google ends mandatory arbitration in sexual harassment cases

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.

Pichai also said Google will provide more details around sexual harassment investigations and outcomes, as well as improving processes used to handle such concerns, including the ability for its employees to be accompanied by a support person.

However, the Tech Workers Coalition, which launched a retaliation hotline for Google employees who participated in last week's protest, says that the new policies don't do enough to protect those temp, vendor and contract workers (TVCs), the report said.

The company is also stepping up its training aimed at preventing misconduct.

With regard to training, Google says that starting next year, all employees will be required to complete sexual harassment training annually (it is now required every two years). Women account for 31 per cent of Google's employees worldwide, and it's lower for leadership roles.

"Harassment is never acceptable and alcohol is never an excuse", Mr Pichai wrote.

The last couple of weeks haven't been great ones for Google. Google states that "excessive consumption of alcohol is not permitted when you are at work, performing Google business, or attending a Google-related event, whether onsite or offsite". 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 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. "When Google does something, other employers tend to copy it", she said.

"We have an aspiration to be the best company in the world", Rodriguez said.

Pichai sent out an email to all Google employees this morning, and in the sake of trying to be more transparent with the public on these matters, shared it in the form of a blog post for everyone to see. It also said employees who fail to complete mandatory sexual harassment training will be docked in performance reviews.

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.

While the policy changes Pichai outlined met numerous protesters' requirements, they do not include adding an employee representative to Alphabet's board or elevating the chief diversity officer to report directly to the CEO, it said.

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