Google CEO says censorship is done to comply with laws

Sundar Pichai

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a memo sent to employees on Thursday that the company will revise its sexual harassment policy after last week's mass walkout by workers, who were protesting what they said was the tech giant's mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations against executives.

Arbitration will become optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims, Google said, enabling lawsuits on those matters.

"Google will provide more transparency on how we handle concerns".

They also want Google to commit to ending pay inequity, issue a report on sexual harassment inside the company, and adopt a clearer process for reporting complaints.

Google will update its mandatory sexual harassment training, and require it annually instead of every two years as had been the case.

In an unsigned letter, Google protesters demanded an end to forced arbitration in harassment and discrimination cases, which required employees to forfeit their right to sue and typically included a confidentiality agreement.

'Going forward, all leaders at the company - Directors, VPs and SVPs - will be expected to create teams, events, offsites and environments in which excessive alcohol consumption is strongly discouraged, ' the plan notes.

According to the New York Times report, Google gave the creator of Android mobile software, Andrew Rubin, a "hero's farewell" when he left the company in October 2014, praising him and giving him a $90 million (€78 million) exit package.

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"Last year, we published our harassment policy - https://peoplepractices.fb.com/harassment-policy/ - because we believe that the more companies are open about their policies, the more we can all learn from one another".

"Collective action works", Whittaker tweeted.

Several steps will be taken to provide better care for those seeking to make claims, including extended counselling and support for accommodations and company leave.

In the article, titled, "Google Workers Reject Silicon Valley Individualism in Walkout", Scheiber claimed the mass organization was evidence of a rejection of Silicon Valley's formerly individualist identity.

But the group said that, although it "commended" the process, some concerns had been ignored - such as their demand for a employee representative to be put on the board. The report further added that Google in the past also had protected many of its employees who were accused of sexual misconduct by other employees.

The walkout organizers say that they're frustrated by Pichai's failure to address key elements of their complaint - for example, widespread pay discrimination.

In a statement, organisers commended Google for the response, but said more changes are needed.

Google on Thursday announced it's reforming the way it handles sexual misconduct cases.

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