Google to be more open, revamp harassment policy
A week after 20,000 employees walked out in protest over sexual misconduct and inequality at Google, the company said Thursday that it will commit to building a safer workplace, which includes ending forced arbitration and increasing its transparency on reported incidents of sexual misconduct.
In an email to employees, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said it was clear that the company needed to make changes to protect its workers. The email outlines a swath of changes, many of which meet the demands from organizers of last week’s walkouts.
“Going forward, we will provide more transparency into how you raise concerns and how we handle them,” Pichai wrote in the email. “We will provide better care and support to people who raise concerns. And we will double down on our commitment to be a representative, equitable and respectful workplace.
The reckoning wrought by #MeToo has left Silicon Valley exposed, revealing patterns of abuse and inequality beneath a veneer of progress. Now, Google, one of the world’s most powerful and visible companies, could become a model for how to fix what’s broken in tech culture – if it delivers on its promises.
“We have the eyes of many companies looking at us,” said Tanuja Gupta, one of the walkout’s organizers in New York last week. “We’ve always been a vanguard company, so if we don’t lead the way, nobody else will.”
When workers at 50 Google offices worldwide walked off the job last Thursday, they said they were protesting a “culture of complicity, dismissiveness, and support for perpetrators.” The New York Times reported last month that Google had suppressed allegations of sexual misconduct against several of its executives and had reportedly paid one executive $90 million when he left the company after a sexual misconduct investigation deemed allegations against him were credible.
“All employees and contract workers across the company deserve to be safe,” they wrote in an essay published on the Cut last week. “Sadly, the executive team has demonstrated through their lack of meaningful action that our safety is not a priority.”