Google updates sexual harassment policies following protest

Google said employees will now be required to undergo sexual harassment training annually. That will now be optional, so workers can choose to sue in court and present their case in front of a jury. Another request is to have an employee representative on Google's board.

"We demand a truly equitable culture", organizer Stephanie Parker wrote in response to Pichai's November 8 email, "and Google leadership can achieve this by putting employee representation on the board and giving full rights and protections to contract workers, our most vulnerable workers, many of whom are Black and Brown women".

Google will investigate complaints made by its contractors against employees and require that suppliers investigate complaints against contractors, the company said. The protest's organizers estimated that about 20,000 workers participated. "It's clear we need to make some changes".

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".

Skipping sexual harassment training will affect employees' performance reviews. When previously confronted with accusations that it shortchanges women - made by the U.S. Labor Department and in lawsuits filed by female employees -Google has maintained that its compensation system doesn't discriminate between men and women.

"While Sundar's message was encouraging, important points around discrimination, inequity and representation were not addressed", Holland wrote in an email responding to an AP inquiry.

"These things can be contagious", said Thomas Kochan, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology management professor specializing in employment issues. The company then asked for his resignation, gave him an exit package of $90 million, and didn't mention the misconduct in his departure announcement, according to the Times.

Organizers say they intend to meet with Google execs in pursuit of getting all - not just some - of their demands met.

He added that Google's workforce had been shocked by a New York Times report on sexual assault allegations surrounding high-profile workers at the tech firm.

Rubin derided the Times story article as inaccurate and denied the allegations in a tweet. And there's something grossly infantilizing about the section of the announcement devoted to reminding Google employees that "the onus will be on leaders to take appropriate steps to restrict any excessive consumption among their teams". As part of its ongoing efforts, Google will now require at least one woman or a non-Asian ethnic minority to be included on the list of candidates for executive jobs.

Vanessa Coleman

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