Google will end its policy of forcing workers to sign away their right to take a sexual harassment case to court, in a win for the 20,000 employees who staged a protest last week over alleged payouts to predatory executives.
In an attempt to address a key criticism of how the company failed to adequately deal with sexual assault claims when made against senior management, the CEO said Google will make arbitration optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims.
"Google has never required confidentiality in the arbitration process and arbitration still may be the best path for a number of reasons (eg personal privacy) but, we recognize that choice should be up to you".
Google will provide "more granularity", regarding sexual harassment investigations and their outcomes, according to Pichai.
"Going forward, we will provide more transparency on how we handle concerns", he wrote.
"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. 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.
"But one of the most common factors among the harassment complaints made today at Google is that the perpetrator had been drinking".
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Google will offer its employees extra care and resources during and after the process, he said. The onus will be on leaders to take appropriate steps to restrict any excessive consumption among their teams, and we will impose more onerous actions if problems persist.
A massive turnout at the "Googleplex" in Silicon Valley was the final stage of a global walkout that began in Asia and spread to Google offices in Europe.
Google employees walked out in protest.
"For new or vacated positions at the Director level or above, we'll commit to having a diverse slate of candidates on the interview short list", the company says, allowing itself an exception when filling highly specialized roles.
Mandatory sexual harassment training will also be updated and expanded with those not completing training receiving a docking of their performance rating.
Thousands of Google employees participated in a walkout earlier this month in protest. The email outlines a swath of changes, many of which meet the demands from organizers of last week's walkouts.
Demands posted by organisers included an end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination for all current and future employees, along with a right for every Google worker to bring a co-worker, representative, or supporter when filing a harassment claim.