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August 26, 2019

Google changes sexual harassment policy after company-wide walkout

November 10, 2018
Google employees around the world walked out on Nov. 1 in protest of the company’s handling of sexual misconduct. (Noah Berger / AP)

A week after 20,000 Google employees staged a global walkout over the company’s mishandling of workplace sexual harassment, the tech giant announced it will finally take allegations seriously.

“We recognize that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that,” CEO Sundar Pichai said in a staff memo Thursday. “It’s clear we need to make some changes.”

Among the changes was a promise of an “overhauling” within reporting channels, as well as providing “extra care and resources” during the process.

Google also said that it will no longer require mandatory arbitration of sexual misconduct allegations and will provide more details about sexual misconduct cases in internal reports.

“Google has never required confidentiality in the arbitration process and arbitration still may be the best path for a number of reasons (e.g. personal privacy) but, we recognize that choice should be up to you,” Pichai wrote.

About 20,000 Google employees walked out of their offices around the world on Nov. 1 after reports of the company’s protection of male executives accused of sexual misconduct.

One, Android creator Andy Rubin, received a $90 million exit package from Google, according to the New York Times.

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Google employees around the world stage walkouts to combat sexual harassment and discrimination

The Tech Workers Coalition said Google’s changes aren’t enough.

“For a company that likes to innovate, it’s striking to see such a lack of vision for treating all of their workforce with basic dignity,” the group said in a statement, pointing out that there is still no protection from sexual harassment within Google. “We take inspiration from all who work at Google to keep fighting to build worker power.”

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