Google Promises To Protect Sexual Harassment Victims And Better Support Its Labor Force

Author - Nov 09, 2018

Google Promises To Protect Sexual Harassment Victims And Better Support Its Labor Force

After the walkout last week, Google sent an email on Thursday promising changes in its policies to protect sexual assault victims and support workers better.

After a global protest from employees, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai said the company will review and mend its sexual harassment policies. This is a notable move came after last week when 20,000 Google employees hold walkouts in 50 cities.

On Thursday, Pichai emailed to staff, admitting they did not always do things right in the past and apologizing for what happened. Plus, he claimed there’re changes to make.

The email continued, saying the firm will no longer conduct arbitration for sexual misconducts accusations; plus, it will improve the investigation process, public information of sexual misconducts and results, as well as better support people that come forward.

Yet, some people still criticize the giant for failing to solve the exit package problem and ignoring employees’ demand for improving their rights. They say the commitments were not enough.

The employees demanded that forced arbitration be ended. Forced arbitration is a common practice in corporations in which complaints from employees are pushed to secretive hearings by HR departments. This allows the companies to silence the victims using non-disclosure arrangements, avoid publicizing labor violations and protect various offenders. Since Uber’s former engineer Susan Fowler spoke out about sexual harassment last year, this system has been put under more severe inspection.

According to Pichai, arbitration will now be optional for sexual harassment claims and individual sexual harassment, but employees can still keep their claims secretive if they want. This is opposite to what Google did earlier this year when Loretta Lee filed a lawsuit, accusing the “bro-culture” of enabling daily harassment that involved pranks, obscene comments, or even physical violence; the company at that time tried to turn the claim to private arbitration.

The CEO added that Google will apply investigations as well as disciplinary actions, there will also be “one dedicated site” providing “live support” for staff with complaints. Plus, Google will take better care of its employees, which will include career support, counseling and a support person.

The walkout originally asked for a transparent, uniform, globally inclusive process for safe anonymous reports on sexual misconducts and the process should start applying with contractors too.

A group of labor organizers, The Tech Workers Coalition, including Google employees said about Pichai’s email that TVCs (temps, vendors, and contractors) remain left out of the sexual harassment issue.

The coalition continued by pointing out TVCs did not receive Pichai’s mail and were not included in a town-hall discussion. It stressed that for a company aiming to innovate, this discrimination among different labor groups illustrates Google’s lack of vision for considering all workforce equally.

Pichai was also criticized for ignoring the demand for having an employee representative in the company’s board.

On Thursday afternoon, the organizers of the walkout called for more actions from the executives, they said Google must solve the systemic discrimination and racism problem, including not only sexual harassment but also rates of promotion and pay equity.

Stephanie Parker, an organizer added that the company needs to give contractors that most are Black and Brown women full rights and protections.

Previously, the firm said it ended its gender pay gap.

As indicated by the company, most employees at Google are white, Asian and male. Among leaders, black accounts for 2%, Latino 1.8%, and women make up 25.5%.

In terms of contractors, a spokesman mentioned Pichai’s statement saying Google investigate every case in which a TVC complain about an employee. A somewhat called “code of conduct” also demand Google suppliers to commit to detect, address and improve a diverse culture and include every labor group in all aspect of workplace management.


Sort by Newest | Popular