Google overhauls sexual misconduct policy after employee walkouts

Mae Love
November 9, 2018

The protest's organizers estimated that about 20,000 workers participated.

"More granularity around sexual harassment investigations and outcomes".

You can read the email in its entirety here. "It's clear we need to make some changes", Pichai stated in his emailed memo.

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".

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The changes didn't go far enough to satisfy Vicki Tardif Holland, a Google employee who helped organize and spoke at the protests near the company's Cambridge, Massachusetts, office last week.

"But the issues that contributed to the walkout at Google - the company's controversial work with the Pentagon on artificial intelligence, its apparent willingness to build a censored search engine for China, and above all its handling of sexual harassment accusations against senior managers - proved too large for any one worker to confront alone, even if that worker made mid-six figures", he continued.

Pichai has promised to collect feedback from workers after they walked out in the wake of a New York Times story that detailed allegations of sexual misconduct against a handful of Google employees including Android software creator Andy Rubin and Richard DeVaul, a director at Google's X lab.

Rubin derided the Times story article as inaccurate and denied the allegations in a tweet. 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.

"Sundar ignored the demand for a worker to be represented on the board and [temps, vendors and contractors (TVCs)] continue to have no adequate protections from sexual harassment, who make up over half the Google workforce and are disproportionately women and people of colour".

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