After The New York times published an explosive story on how the company previously protected one of its star engineers, Andy Rubin, amid a sexual misconduct investigation, Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed the company has fired 48 employees for sexual harassment in the last two years. Will it be enough to quell concerns?
Google's response comes after more than 1,500 Google employees staged a walk-out from their offices in protest of the company's work culture and handling of sexual misconduct cases at the workplace The walk-out happened at more than 60 per cent of Google offices across the world.
"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", Google CEO Pichai wrote in the email on Thursday. Google is also promising "extra care and resources" for Googlers with complaints, "during and after the process", such as extended counseling and career support.
Optional arbitration for claims on sexual harassment and sexual assault.
After the massive Google Walkout where over 20,000 protestors led an agitation against the sexual harassment cases at Google, the company has now come up with new sexual harassment and sexual assault policies.
In a memo, Pichai announced the new policy, while also defending Google's general policy of forced arbitration by claiming it never required confidentiality.More news: What Samsung's new foldable phone could actually look like
Google has been able to keep its clout as one of the most influential companies globally.
As protesters demanded, the company is also consolidating reporting channels for those with misconduct complaints.
Sabrina Geremia says she feels the walkout, which included workers in Toronto, Montreal and Waterloo, is a "difficult episode", but that she hopes it will become a "watermark" for the industry.
"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 global walkout spread to many countries in Europe, North America and Asia, including Britain, Singapore, Japan, Germany, and Google's headquarters in Mountain View in northern California.
"Sundar ignored the demand for a worker to be represented on the board and [temps, vendors and contractors (TVCs)] continue to have no adequate protections from sexual harassment, who make up over half the Google workforce and are disproportionately women and people of colour". The report said Rubin received a $90 million severance package in 2014 even though Google concluded the sexual misconduct allegations against him were credible. "They all have the same root cause, which is a concentration of power and a lack of accountability at the top", Parker said.