Google outlines steps to tackle workplace harassment

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Will it be enough to quell concerns?

CEO 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 Google workers last week.

"Going forward, we will provide more transparency on how we handle concerns".

Pichai committed to several of those changes, but a demand to have an employee representative appointed to the board was not addressed.

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

The company is also stepping up its training aimed at preventing misconduct, requiring all employees to go through the process annually instead of every other year. Those who don't comply will be docked one rating in the year-end Perf (Google's performance review system).

Google got caught in the crosshairs two weeks ago after The New York Times detailed allegations of sexual misconduct against the creator of Google's Android software, Andy Rubin. The action plan notes that harassment is never acceptable and alcohol is never an excuse but is one of the most common factors among harassment complaints (in around 20 percent of cases).

He said in a document attached to a blog post online: 'Our policy is clear: 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'.

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And a specialist team will be set up to investigate sexual harassment and discrimination cases.

Google on Thursday vowed to be more forceful and open about its handling of sexual harassment cases, with CEO Sundar Pichai spelling out the concessions in an email Thursday to Google employees.

Mr. Pichai's actions respond to a couple of the five major requests made by employees during last week's protests.

Payne Capital Management's Michelle McKinnon and EventShares Chief Investment Officer Ben Phillips on Google employees staging a walkout to protest sexual misconduct allegations at the company and the outlook for the tech sector.

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.

"We demand a truly equitable culture, and Google leadership can achieve this by putting employee representation on the board and giving full rights and protections to contract workers", organizer Stephanie Parker said in the statement.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.