Google outlines steps to tackle workplace harassment

San Francisco: Google outlined changes to its handling of sexual misconduct complaints, hoping to calm outrage that triggered a worldwide walkout of workers last week. “We recognise that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that,” chief executive Sundar Pichai said in a message to employees.
“It’s clear we need to make some changes.”
Arbitration of harassment claims will be optional instead of obligatory, according to Pichai, a move that could end anonymous settlements that fail to identify those accused of harassment.
“Google has never required confidentiality in the arbitration process and it still may be the best path for a number of reasons (e.g. personal privacy, predictability of process), but, we recognise that the choice should be up to you,” he said in the memo.
Pichai promised that Google will be more transparent with how concerns are handled, and provide better support and care to those who raise such issues with the company.
Google will provide “more granularity,” regarding sexual harassment investigations and their outcomes, according to Pichai.
A section of an internal “Investigations Report” will focus on sexual harassment to show numbers of substantiated concerns as well as trends and disciplinary actions, according to the California-based company.
He also said Google is consolidating the complaint system and that the process for handling concerns will include providing support people and counsellors.
Google will update its mandatory sexual harassment training, and require it annually instead of every two years as had been the case.— AFP