A week after Google workers around the globe walked off their jobs to protest reportedly lenient treatment of executives accused of sexual misconduct, the internet giant is promising change. Will it be enough to quell concerns?
Campaigners hope the promised overhaul of how Google handles issues around sexual harassment will remove a culture of secrecy that saw one high-profile engineer leave the company with an $90m pay out, despite "credible" claims of inappropriate behaviour.
"We recognise that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that", Pichai said in an email message to employees, a copy of which was shared with AFP. "It's clear we need to make some changes" said Sunder Pichai in the blog post.
According to the email, arbitration in harassment or assault claims will now be optional, and the company will track and make public information about reported incidents of misconduct and how they are dealt with. Those who don't comply will be docked one rating in the year-end Perf (Google's performance review system).
In September, McDonalds employees also went on a historic, multi-state strike in the USA against sexual harassment. And there's something grossly infantilizing about the section of the announcement devoted to reminding Google employees that "the onus will be on leaders to take appropriate steps to restrict any excessive consumption among their teams".
Further, Google says it will implement an Investigations Practice Guide that will outline how investigations will be handled and what employees can expect from the process. Instead, Google noted that its chief diversity officer provides recommendations to the board through the company's Leadership Development and Compensation Committee.
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A hotline has been set up for family members looking for information at +592-261-2281 or +592-600-7022. It returned to Georgetown's Cheddi Jagan International Airport just before 2am local time (6am GMT).
Since the breakout of the #MeToo campaign that spread across the whole world, people have become more vocal about sexual harassment and assaults in different workplaces.
Google is not meeting the request to publicly release a sexual harassment transparency report.
Employees who organized last week's demonstrations estimated that 20,000 workers participated across Alphabet offices in five continents.
Google got caught in the crosshairs two weeks ago after The New York Times detailed allegations of sexual misconduct about the creator of Google's Android software, Andy Rubin.
The walkout organizers say that they're frustrated by Pichai's failure to address key elements of their complaint - for example, widespread pay discrimination.
"We have the eyes of many companies looking at us", said Tanuja Gupta, one of the walkout's organizers in NY last week. It does not, as the organizers asked, create a position for a worker representative on the Board of Directors.