Google bends to protestors' demands after sexual harassment 'walkout'

Watch Google employees stage global protests

Watch Google employees stage global protests

The Google protest organizers last week demanded the end of forced arbitration in harassment and discrimination cases, which requires employees to resolve their dispute privately rather than in court. The protesters demanded that women be paid the same as men for doing similar work, something that Google has steadfastly maintained that it has been doing for years.

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.

The update does not address the walkout organizers' demand that the company be transparent about any exit packages awarded to those who are forced out of the company following investigation.

"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. The probe concluded that its rank had been poisoned by rampant sexual harassment.

Employees who organized last week's demonstrations estimated that 20,000 workers participated across Alphabet offices in five continents.

The company also said in a longer document that it would be changing the way it conducts internal investigations, noting that there would now be a "global process that will allow Googlers to be accompanied by a companion during an HR investigation, or when raising/reporting any harassment or discrimination concerns to HR".

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Google said employees will now be required to undergo sexual harassment training annually, instead of every two years currently.

"These things can be contagious", said Thomas Kochan, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology management professor specializing in employment issues. Google reportedly found the allegation to be credible. Google said it investigates whenever a contractor makes a complaint against a Google employee, and expects contracting companies to do the same when a complaint is made against a contractor.

Some employers might even pre-emptively adopt some of Google's new policies, given its prestige, said Stephanie Creary, who specializes in workplace and diversity issues at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

Rubin has denied the allegations.

Like its Silicon Valley peers, Google has already acknowledged that its workforce is too heavily concentrated with white and Asian men, especially in the highest-paying executive and computer-programming jobs. That report will include details on how many substantiated or partially substantiated concerns there were, disciplinary actions that were taken and what types of behavior lead to termination at the company.

Critics believe that gender imbalance has created a "brogammer" culture akin to a college fraternity house that treats women as sex objects.

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