Google outlines steps to tackle workplace harassment

Watch Google employees stage global protests

Google ends mandatory arbitration in sexual harassment cases

Google Canada's country manager says she shares the same "frustration" as the thousands of employees who staged a global walkout at the tech giant last week to protest its alleged mistreatment of women and mishandling of sexual misconduct.

In the letter, Pichai said Google would take the following steps: make arbitration available for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims; overhaul its report channels and provide live support; allow anyone reporting harassment to be accompanied by a support person; and offer "extra care and resources for Googlers during and after the process", including counseling and career support.

Google will provide more details about sexual misconduct cases in internal reports available to all employees.

It followed a series of revelations about sexual harassment and misconduct at the company, including a $90m payout to Android inventor Andy Rubin after he had left Google, despite what the firm considered a credible claim of sexual misconduct against him - a claim he denies. That's happening externally, with increased scrutiny by regulators and politicians, and internally with reports and rising complaints about Google's permissive culture when it comes to executive conduct and relationships with co-workers.

And next year, all employees will be required to complete sexual harassment training annually.

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 misbehavior.

Excessive alcohol: Harassment is never acceptable and alcohol is never an excuse. Employee-gathered data suggests the company pays men more than women; Google takes issue with those figures and argues women at the company make 99.7 cents for every dollar men make.

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Demma Rodriguez, head of equity engineering and a seven-year Google employee, said during the walkout that it was an important part of bringing fairness to the technology colossus.

Pichai outlined the changes, which align with some of the demands put forward by protesters.

"We have an aspiration to be the best company in the world", Rodriguez said.

The walkout, which took place on November 1, saw approximately 20,000 employees leave their Google offices around the globe at 11:10 a.m. local time.

In an unsigned statement from organizers, protesters called for an end to forced arbitration in harassment and discrimination cases, a practice that requires employees to give up their right to sue and often includes confidentiality agreements.

Pichai sent out an email to all Google employees this morning, and in the sake of trying to be more transparent with the public on these matters, shared it in the form of a blog post for everyone to see.

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