Google CEO announces new action plan following Andy Rubin fiasco

Google CEO announces new action plan following Andy Rubin fiasco

On Thursday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai - who was publicly supportive of the walkout, likely because reacting any other way would be a bad PR look for an already tarnished organization - announced that the company has updated its sexual harassment policies. Will it be enough to quell concerns?

Google employees walked out of the company's offices around the world on November 1 in protest of the search giant's handling of sexual harassment claims - specifically at the executive level. "It's clear we need to make some changes", Google CEO Pichai wrote in the email on Thursday.

Pichai in his memo also promised that Google will now onwards be more transparent with how it handles sexual misconduct cases and offer more detailed report on such cases.

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.

It mirrors a change made by ride-hailing service Uber after complaints from its women employees prompted an internal investigation concluding its rank had been poisoned by rampant sexual harassment. Google states that "excessive consumption of alcohol is not permitted when you are at work, performing Google business, or attending a Google-related event, whether onsite or offsite". Instead, Google noted that its chief diversity officer provides recommendations to the board through the company's Leadership Development and Compensation Committee.

Walkout organizers applauded the progress on sexual harassment but said they would not let up on the other issues.

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Some teams had imposed "two-drink limits", he said, while others had introduced a ticketing system to stop alcohol flowing freely. Google says it will annually release a report on offenses that were and were not fireable.

Google is overhauling its reporting channels by bringing them together on one dedicated site and including live support, he informed.

"We have the eyes of many companies looking at us", said Tanuja Gupta, one of the walkout's organizers in NY last week. Google will also publicly share its policies on harassment, discrimination, retaliations, standards of conduct and workplace concerns.

The walkout, which took place on November 1, saw approximately 20,000 employees leave their Google offices around the globe at 11:10 a.m. local time. Another request is to have an employee representative on Google's board.

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.

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