Google changes sexual harassment policies following employee walkouts

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  • In response to the recent heavily-publicized employee walkouts, Google is revamping its sexual harassment policies.
  • Among the many changes are the choice of arbitration during a complaint, mandatory training, and a new website with live support.
  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai said, “we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that.”

Last week, thousands of Google employees around the world walked off the job in response to a report from The New York Times that exposed a $90 million exit package given to former employee Andy Rubin. The payout came after Rubin was pushed to resign following several sexual harassment complaints against him.

Now, following the walkouts, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai sent an email to all Googlers describing a revamp of the company’s sexual harassment policies. You can read the full document here, or read Pichai’s email which lists out some of the key changes.

The most notable change is that Google will now allow employees who make a sexual harassment claim to choose whether or not to use arbitration. In other words, it’s now up to the claimant if they would like to settle the matter internally at Google or involve the court system. Previously, it seems this decision was up to Google and not the employees.

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Pichai points out that in some cases, arbitration will still be the best method, whether due to privacy or other concerns. Now, however, the decision is up to the employee.

Another notable change is the creation of a new website which brings all the various reporting channels under one roof. This website will also feature live support.

Also, when a Googler files a claim, they can now choose to involve a “support person” which will accompany them throughout the process.

The question now becomes: will this be enough? The Andy Rubin case certainly caused a lot of strife within Google, as the walkouts were far larger than most expected. While these updated policies appear to be a move in the right direction, will Googlers be satisfied?

NEXT: As promised, Google employees stage walkout in response to sexual misconduct allegations

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