Google ends forced arbitration after sex-misconduct protest | Digital

Watch Google employees stage global protests

Google CEO announces new action plan following Andy Rubin fiasco

Will it be enough to quell concerns?

In the email, Pichai says that he takes the role of CEO seriously and that, going forward, Google will "provide more transparency on how we handle concerns".

The tech boss said it had become clear that to live up to the "high bar" set for Google, changes must be made. There were rumbles of discontent among employees at Google following the huge payoffs given to Alphabet's senior executives who were eased out of the company for sexual harassment. Those who don't comply will be docked one rating in the year-end Perf (Google's performance review system).

In a memo, Pichai announced the new policy, while also defending Google's general policy of forced arbitration by claiming it never required confidentiality. The "excessive" consumption of alcohol will also be discouraged by managers especially at work.

Google is also putting the onus on team leaders to tighten the tap on booze at company events, on or off campus, to curtail the potential for drunken misbehaviour.

It pledged to provide more information to staff about such investigations and the outcomes, and expand mandatory training on the issue.

Thousands of Google employees joined a coordinated worldwide walkout a week ago to protest the USA tech giant's handling of sexual harassment.

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But the Tech Workers Coalition, which backed last week's action, said the measures did not go almost far enough, particularly where it related to contractors who worked with the firm.

Pichai's disclosure came after over 20,000 Google employees worldwide walked out last week in protest of sexual harassment at the company and its improper handling of sexual misbehaviour allegations against top executives.

The organizers behind the Google walkouts published a list of actionable demands, including ending forced arbitration for harassment and discrimination and a "commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity".

Employees perceive an air of injustice in the way such matters are being handled and took it upon themselves to stage a protest.

As protesters demanded, the company is also consolidating reporting channels for those with misconduct complaints.

"We demand a truly equitable culture, and Google leadership can achieve this by putting employee representation on the board and giving full rights and protections to contract workers", organizer Stephanie Parker said in the statement. 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 will offer its employees extra care and resources during and after the process, he said.

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