Google com­mits to new sex ha­rass­ment poli­cies

The State - - Business - BY TAY­LOR TELFORD

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 exec- utive 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 orga- niz­ers 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.


Google em­ploy­ees fill Harry Bridges Plaza in front of the Ferry Build­ing dur­ing a walk­out in San Fran­cisco last week. Google is promis­ing to be more force­ful and open about its han­dling of sex­ual mis­con­duct cases.

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