Google Responds To Staff Walkouts: “It’s Clear We Need To Make Some Changes”

Google Responds To Staff Walkouts: “It’s Clear We Need To Make Some Changes”
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Google has responded to walkouts which took place across the globe last week by staff at the tech giant, following allegations of internal sexual assault not being dealt with fairly and transparently.

The walkouts, which took place in most major cities, including Sydney, Tokyo, London and New York, were in response to Google’s handling of claims made against Andy Rubin, the creator of the company’s Android software.

According to a New York Times article, Rubin was paid $US90 million ($127 million) when he left the company in 2014 after a sexual misconduct investigation deemed allegations against him were credible.

At the time of his departure,  Larry Page, Google’s chief executive then, said in a public statement: “I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next.”

Now, it has been revealed CEO Sundar Pichai sent an email to Google employees to discuss changes being made to better support them.

In the email, Pichai wrote: “At Google we try hard to build a workplace that supports our employees and empowers them to do their best work.

“As CEO, I take this responsibility very seriously and I’m committed to making the changes we need to improve.

“Over the past few weeks, Google’s leaders and I have heard your feedback and have been moved by the stories you’ve shared.

“We recognize that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that. It’s clear we need to make some changes.

“Going forward, we will provide more transparency on how we handle concerns. We’ll give better support and care to the people who raise them. And we will double down on our commitment to be a representative, equitable, and respectful workplace.”

When the walkouts were taking place last week, Pichai released a public statement, which said: “Earlier this week, we let Googlers know that we are aware of the activities planned for today and that employees will have the support they need if they wish to participate.

“Employees have raised constructive ideas for how we can improve our policies and our processes going forward.

“We are taking in all their feedback so we can turn these ideas into action.”

In his recent email, Pichai addressed the tech giant’s “comprehensive action plan” to deal with assault claims in the future.

According to Pichai, Google will:

  • Make arbitration optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims
  • Provide more granularity around sexual harassment investigations and outcomes at the company as part of our Investigations Report
  • Revamping the way we handle and look into your concerns
  • Update and expand our mandatory sexual harassment training
  • Recommit to our company-wide OKR around diversity, equity and inclusion again in 2019

Pichai finished the email by stating: “This is an area where we need to continually make progress and are committed to doing so.

“We often hear from Googlers that the best part of working here is other Googlers. Even in difficult times, we are encouraged by the commitment of our colleagues to create a better workplace. That’s come through very strongly over the past few weeks.”

Check out the full statement here.

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