Google announces shake-up in handling of sexual harassment claims

It follows a world-wide walkout at the company's offices

Google announces shake-up in handling of sexual harassment claims

Google employees return to the company's office following a walkout in Toronto on November 1st, 2018 | Image: Cole Burston/AP/Press Association Images

Google has announced changes to the way it handles sexual harassment cases within the company.

The follows a walkout in Dublin and other Google offices world-wide last week.

Workers staged the protests over the treatment of women at the company and the firm's handling of misconduct allegations.

A New York Times report claimed that a senior staff member - Android creator Andy Rubin - left the company with a US$90m payout despite a 'credible' accusation of sexual misconduct from a female employee.

Mr Rubin has denied the accusation.

The report also claimed that two other executives had been 'protected' by the company after sexual misconduct allegations.

In a note to employees on Thursday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said: "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.

"Going forward, 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."

Staff and workers at Google Dublin staged a walkout with other workers across the world | Image: Sam Boal/

As part of the changes, the search giant will make arbitration optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims.

"Google has never required confidentiality in the arbitration process and arbitration still may be the best path for a number of reasons (e.g. personal privacy) but, we recognize that choice should be up to you", it said.

It will provide more granularity around sexual harassment investigations and outcomes - and is revamping the way it handles and investigates concerns.

Mr Pichai added: "We're overhauling our reporting channels by bringing them together on one dedicated site and including live support.

"We will enhance the processes we use to handle concerns-including the ability for Googlers to be accompanied by a support person.

"And we will offer extra care and resources for Googlers during and after the process."

The company said this includes extended counseling and career support.

It is also updating and expanding its mandatory sexual harassment training.

A full list of the changes can be found here