LOS ANGELES – Google chief Sundar Pichai on Thursday outlined changes to how the internet giant handles sexual harassment complaints, hoping to calm outrage that triggered a worldwide walkout of workers last week.
“We recognize that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that,” Pichai said in an email message to employees, a copy of which was shared with AFP.
“It’s clear we need to make some changes.”
Pichai promised that Google will be more transparent with how concerns are handled, and provide better support and care to those who raise such issues with the company.
Google will provide “more granularity,” regarding sexual harassment investigations and their outcomes, according to Pichai.
He also said Google is consolidating the complaint system and that the process for handling concerns will include providing support people and counselors.
Google will update its mandatory sexual harassment training, and make arbitration of claims optional instead of obligatory, according to Pichai.
“This is an area where we need to continually make progress and are committed to doing so,” Pichai said.
Thousands of Google employees joined a coordinated worldwide walkout a week ago to protest the US tech giant’s handling of sexual harassment.
The turnout in California was the final stage of a global walkout that began in Asia and spread to Google offices in Europe.
Some 20,000 Google employees and contractors participated in the walkout in 50 cities around the world, according to organizers.
The protest took shape after Google said it had fired 48 employees in the past two years — including 13 senior executives — as a result of allegations of sexual misconduct.
Demands posted by organizers 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.