Google Updates Sexual Harassment Policies Following Protest


Mountain View: Google will end its policy of forcing workers to sign away their right to take a sexual harassment case to court, in a win for the 20,000 employees who staged a protest last week over alleged payouts to predatory executives.

Googlers, the nickname the Silicon Valley giant gives to staff, have until now had to waive their right to take a claim public upon accepting a job. Going forward, arbitration – often a quicker way to settle employment disputes – will be optional, according to an email sent to employees on Tuesday morning.

In the memo, chief executive Sundar Pichai wrote: “Over the past few weeks Google’s leaders and I have heard your feedback and have been moved by the stories you’ve shared.“We recognise that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that. It’s clear we need to make some changes.

“Going forward, we will provide more transparency on how we handle concerns. We’ll give better support and care to the people who raise them. And we will double down on our commitment to be a representative, equitable, and respectful workplace.”

An estimated 20,000 Google employees and contractors took part in the protests across 50 cities worldwide on 1 November. Throughout the protests several female employees shared their stories while working at Google, claiming that their allegations had largely fell on deaf ears.

In light of the report Sundar Pichai told workers that 48 employees had been sacked for sexual harassment in the past two years but that none of them had received similar payments to Rubin.

The group of Google employees who organised the protest, called Google Walkout for Real Change, set out five demands for the company including ending forced arbitration and to appoint an employee representative to its board.