Google apol­o­gises for past han­dling of ha­rass­ment, brings changes

■ 20,000 Google em­ploy­ees had walk-outed from their of­fices world­wide last week protest­ing Google’s past han­dling of sex­ual ha­rass­ment cases

The Hitavada - - 2ND FRONT -

AF­TER a global walk­out by over 20,000 em­ploy­ees last week, Google has apol­o­gised for the past han­dling of sex­ual ha­rass­ment cases while promis­ing to bring changes to make the com­pany a safer work­place.

“We recog­nise that we have not al­ways got­ten ev­ery­thing right in the past and we are sin­cerely sorry for that,” Google CEO Sun­dar Pichai wrote in a note to em­ploy­ees on Thurs­day. The walk­out by Google em­ploy­ees was in protest against sex­ual ha­rass­ment at the com­pany and its im­proper han­dling of sex­ual mis­be­haviour al­le­ga­tions against top ex­ec­u­tives.

“Over the past few weeks Google’s lead­ers and I have heard your feed­back and have been moved by the sto­ries you’ve shared... It’s clear we need to make some changes,” Pichai said.

Promis­ing more trans­parency on how it han­dles ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions, Pichai said that Google will dou­ble down on its com­mit­ment to be a “rep­re­sen­ta­tive, eq­ui­table, and re­spect­ful work­place”.

Among the key changes an­nounced by the Google CEO in­cludes mak­ing arbitration op­tional for in­di­vid­ual sex­ual ha­rass­ment and sex­ual as­sault claims. Google is over­haul­ing its re­port­ing channels by bring­ing them to­gether on one ded­i­cated site and in­clud­ing live sup­port, he in­formed. “We will en­hance the pro­cesses we use to han­dle con­cerns, in­clud­ing the abil­ity for Googlers to be ac­com­pa­nied by a sup­port per­son,” Pichai said.

Google will of­fer its em­ploy­ees ex­tra care and re­sources dur­ing and af­ter the process, he said. “This in­cludes ex­tended coun­selling and ca­reer sup­port,” Pichai said, adding that the com­pany would also up­date and ex­pand the manda­tory sex­ual ha­rass­ment train­ing. The new pol­icy changes an­nounced by Google have vir­tu­ally met most of the de­mands by Google protesters, ex­cept the one that de­manded a place for an em­ployee rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the com­pany’s board.

Or­gan­is­ers of last week’s mas­sive protests called for more trans­parency in han­dling sex­ual ha­rass­ment, em­ployee em­pow­er­ment, and in­equal­ity over pay and work op­por­tu­ni­ties. The global walk out 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.

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