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By Janelle Griffith

Google is making changes to its sexual harassment and misconduct policies — including ending forced arbitration in such cases — a week after a global employee walkout.

CEO Sundar Pichai sent a memo to staff Thursday pledging “more transparency” on how it handles employee concerns and provide “better support and care to the people who raise them.” Google “will double down” on its commitment to be a representative, equitable and respectful workplace, he said.

Pichai’s letter announced improvements to sexual harassment reporting and training, and emphasized the company’s commitment to diversity. Google will consolidate its channels for reporting misconduct into one site with live support, the company said. It also will provide “extended counseling and career support” for employees making allegations of sexual misconduct.

Organizers of the protests had demanded Google put an end to its policy of forced arbitration for sexual misconduct allegations — a common practice among technology companies that typically takes place behind closed doors and can involve confidentiality clauses. Critics of the practice said it limits workers from speaking out about their experiences.

Meredith Whittaker, the lead of Google’s Open Research group, tweeted on Thursday: “Collective action works. It will continue working.”





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