Google revising sexual harassment policies after worker backlash

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Google employees stage walkout to protest sexual misconduct allegations

Payne Capital Management's Michelle McKinnon and EventShares Chief Investment Officer Ben Phillips on Google employees staging a walkout to protest sexual misconduct allegations at the company and the outlook for the tech sector.

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.

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“We recognize that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that,” Pichai wrote in the memo, which was first obtained by The New York Times. “It’s clear we need to make some changes.” Read the full memo here from Foxnews.com's tech team.

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In the letter, Pichai said Google would take the following steps: make arbitration available for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims; overhaul its report channels and provide live support; allow anyone reporting harassment to be accompanied by a support person; and offer “extra care and resources for Googlers during and after the process,” including counseling and career support.

“Going forward, we will provide more transparency on how we handle concerns,” he wrote. “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.”

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. Rubin has denied the allegations.

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.

“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. “ENOUGH. Reassuring PR won’t cut it: we need transparency, accountability, and structural change.”

Pichai -- who gave employees free reign to walk out of work -- had previously revealed in an internal memo that the company has fired 48 employees over the last two years for harassment, including 13 “senior managers and above,” none of whom received an exit package.

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