Google ends mandatory arbitration in sexual harassment cases

Sundar Pichai

Sundar PichaiMore

Mr Pichai acknowledged that management at the search giant has not always gotten everything right in the past and he apologised for that.

According to Google Walkout for Real Change, the protesters' goals included several policy changes at the tech firm, including "a publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report" and "a commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity".

"While Google has championed the language of diversity and inclusion, substantive actions to address systemic racism, increase equity, and stop sexual harassment have been few and far between", the employee statement reads.

Pichai released a public memo in which he said that arbitration, a quasi-legal private dispute resolution process that often favors corporations over individuals, would now be "optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims".

Google said employees will now be required to undergo sexual harassment training annually.

"I'm here protesting against harassment in the workplace to make sure we don't protect or support those perpetrators of harassment", one protester told Sky News.

He also pledged to provide more detail around sexual harassment investigations and outcomes at the company as part of Google's Investigations Report.

Staff will also face performance review penalties if they fail to complete sexual harassment training. We'll give better support and care to the people who raise them.

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. When previously confronted with accusations that it shortchanges women - made by the U.S. Labor Department and in lawsuits filed by female employees -Google has maintained that its compensation system doesn't discriminate between men and women.

The company later said that over the past two years, 48 other employees - including 13 considered to be senior staff - had been fired over sexual harassment issues.

The protest began last week after The New York Times reported on allegations of sexual misconduct about Andy Rubin, the creator of Google's Android software, who allegedly received a $90 million severance package in 2014 after Google concluded the assault claims were credible.

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