Google Responds to Sexual Harassment and Diversity Protests

A wave of protests has rocked the US since the 2016 election…and, in many cases, they seem to be working. Following a massive, worldwide employee walkout at Google earlier this month, the search engine giant has announced improved policies regarding diversity and sexual harassment, company-wide. The new policies include some of the protestors’ demands but ignore “several of the core demands,” according to the walkout’s organizers.

What Policy Changes is Google Implementing?

One of the key changes involves Google’s policy on arbitration for sexual assault and harassment claims; now employees can go to court with their claims of misconduct, rather than having to settle privately.

“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,” wrote CEO Sundar Pichai in a  publicly-posted employee email. A Boston employment law attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been the victim of sexual assault or harassment in the workplace.

Pichai went on to say that Google will improve and expand on existing sexual harassment training, and that internal reports on harassment will be more transparent, including details about cases, any disciplinary actions taken, and what the company does and does not tolerate. He also promises to update and improve the internal system employees can use to report sexual assault and harassment.

“{We} will provide more transparency on how we handle concerns. 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,” wrote Pichai.

Changes to sexual assault and harassment policies will be implemented by the first quarter of 2019.

The Alcohol Factor

Google says that alcohol was involved in about 20 percent of sexual harassment complaints. As such, a spokesperson for the company says that “going forward, all leaders at the company … will be expected to create teams, events, off-sites and environments in which excessive alcohol consumption is strongly discouraged,” even though this wasn’t a specific request of protestors.

Are Organizers Satisfied?

Organizers of the unprecedented walkout say that although Google has “made progress” it has also failed to meet multiple demands, and has “troublingly erased” policy-change requests around racism and discrimination. A MA employment law attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been the victim of sexual assault or discrimination in the workplace.

“If we want to end sexual harassment in the workplace, we must fix these structural imbalances of power,” wrote the organizers in a statement. “While we’re thrilled to see progress on sexual harassment, we will not let up on the demands most urgent for women of color: an employee representative on the board, elevating the chief diversity officer, greater transparency on and an end to opportunity inequity at Google and beyond.”

Altman & Altman, LLP—Boston’s Premier Employment Law Firm

If you have been the victim of sexual assault or harassment in the workplace, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of MA workers for more than 50 years. Our experienced, knowledgeable attorneys understand the emotional complexities of cases involving sexual assault and harassment and have extensive experience in this particular area. We will ensure that you fully understand your rights and options before moving forward, and we will remain by your side throughout the entire process. If you have been harmed, you may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages. Don’t go through this difficult time alone, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.






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