rain
Wednesday February 20th, 2019 4:33AM

Google bows to worker pressure on sexual misconduct policy

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google is promising to be more forceful and open about its handling of sexual misconduct cases, a week after thousands of high-paid engineers and others walked out in protest over its male-dominated culture.

Google bowed to one of the protesters' main demands by dropping mandatory arbitration of all sexual misconduct cases. That will now be optional, so workers can choose to sue in court and present their case in front of a jury. It mirrors a change made by ride-hailing service Uber after complaints from its female employees prompted an internal investigation. The probe concluded that its rank had been poisoned by rampant sexual harassment.

"Google's leaders and I have heard your feedback and have been moved by the stories you've shared," CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email to Google employees. "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." Thursday's email was obtained by The Associated Press.

Last week, the tech giant's workers left their cubicles in dozens of offices around the world to protest what they consider management's lax treatment of top executives and other male workers accused of sexual harassment and other misconduct. The protest's organizers estimated that about 20,000 workers participated.

The reforms are the latest fallout from a broader societal backlash against men's exploitation of their female subordinates in business, entertainment and politics — a movement that has spawned the "MeToo" hashtag as a sign of unity and a call for change.

Google will provide more details about sexual misconduct cases in internal reports available to all employees. The breakdowns will include the number of cases that were substantiated within various company departments and list the types of punishment imposed, including firings, pay cuts and mandated counseling.

The company is also stepping up its training aimed at preventing misconduct. It's requiring all employees to go through the process annually instead of every other year. Those who fall behind in their training, including top executives, will be dinged in annual performance reviews, leaving a blemish that could lower their pay and make it more difficult to get promoted.

But Google didn't address protesters' demand for a commitment to pay women the same as men doing similar work. When previously confronted with accusations that it shortchanges women — made by the U.S. Labor Department and in lawsuits filed by female employees —Google has maintained that its compensation system doesn't discriminate between men and women.

The changes didn't go far enough to satisfy Vicki Tardif Holland, a Google employee who helped organize and spoke at the protests near the company's Cambridge, Massachusetts, office last week.

"While Sundar's message was encouraging, important points around discrimination, inequity and representation were not addressed," Holland wrote in an email responding to an AP inquiry.

Nevertheless, employment experts predicted the generally positive outcome of Google's mass uprising is bound to have ripple effects across Silicon Valley and perhaps the rest of corporate America.

"These things can be contagious," said Thomas Kochan, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology management professor specializing in employment issues. "I would expect to see other professionals taking action when they see something wrong."

Some employers might even pre-emptively adopt some of Google's new policies, given its prestige, said Stephanie Creary, who specializes in workplace and diversity issues at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. "When Google does something, other employers tend to copy it," she said.

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 newspaper said Rubin received a $90 million severance package in 2014 after Google concluded the accusations were credible. Rubin has denied the allegations.

Like its Silicon Valley peers, Google has already acknowledged that its workforce is too heavily concentrated with white and Asian men, especially in the highest-paying executive and computer-programming jobs. Women account for 31 percent of Google's employees worldwide, and it's lower for leadership roles.

Critics believe that gender imbalance has created a "brogammer" culture akin to a college fraternity house that treats women as sex objects. As part of its ongoing efforts, Google will now require at least one woman or a non-Asian ethnic minority to be included on the list of candidates for executive jobs.

___

AP Technology Writer Frank Bajak in Boston contributed to this story.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, AP Business, AP Technology News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Williams runs wild, Texas A&M routs NC State 52-13 in Gator
Trayveon Williams ran for 236 yards and three touchdowns, smashing a 30-year-old school record and carrying No. 21 Texas A&M to a 52-13 victory against beat North Carolina State in the Gator Bowl
11:09PM ( 4 days ago )
Harden's 43 points, triple-double lead Rockets over Memphis
James Harden had a triple-double of 43 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists to lead the Houston Rockets to their fifth straight win, 113-101, over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night
10:53PM ( 4 days ago )
Deadline passes without Russian turnover of data to WADA
Deadline passes without Russian turnover of data, samples to WADA
10:43PM ( 4 days ago )
Associated Press (AP)
US stocks end dismal, volatile year on a bright note
Wall Street closed out a dismal, turbulent year for stocks on a bright note Monday, but still finished 2018 with the worst showing in a decade.
9:52PM ( 4 days ago )
Hello, 2019: Revelry, reflection mark transition to new year
Goodbye, 2018: Revelry, reflection mark the transition to a new year
9:50PM ( 4 days ago )
Broncos fire Vance Joseph after 11-21 mark over 2 years
Broncos fire coach Vance Joseph after back-to-back seasons of double-digit losses
9:50PM ( 4 days ago )
AP National News
Elizabeth Warren takes big step toward 2020 presidential bid
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is taking the first major step toward running for president
7:34PM ( 4 days ago )
Louis C.K. mocks Parkland students in audio of stand-up set
Audio has emerged of Louis C.K. apparently mocking the students-turned-activists from the Parkland, Florida, school shooting
6:53PM ( 4 days ago )
Elizabeth Smart kidnapper living near elementary school
A woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart is living several blocks from a Salt Lake City elementary school following her release from prison in September
6:48PM ( 4 days ago )
AP Online National News
France: Festive celebration in Paris; Macron defends agenda
Hundreds of thousands of people have celebrated New Year's Eve on Paris' Champs-Elysees avenue in a festive and joyful atmosphere amid heavy security
6:49PM ( 4 days ago )
Ivanka Trump plans global women's economic development push
White House adviser Ivanka Trump is set to launch a wide-ranging effort aimed at women's global economic empowerment in early 2019
6:04PM ( 4 days ago )
France: Protest planned amid revelry; Macron defends agenda
Paris is holding its annual New Year's Eve celebration on the Champs-Elysees under heavy security as protesters planned to gather on the famed avenue where a peaceful march previously led to violent clashes with police
4:17PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Business
Tesla names independent board members in SEC settlement
Tesla names 2 independent board members as part of settlement with US regulators
12:19PM ( 1 week ago )
Tesla names Oracle's Ellison to board in SEC settlement
Tesla names Oracle's Ellison and Walgreens executive to board as part of settlement with US regulators
10:58AM ( 1 week ago )
Seoul says personal info of 1,000 NKorean defectors stolen
South Korea says it's responding to a hacking attack that stole the names and addresses of nearly 1,000 North Korean defectors who resettled in the South
2:40AM ( 1 week ago )
AP Technology News
Trump says 'not much headway' in talks as shutdown drags on
Shutdown talks between White House officials and congressional aides concluded without a breakthrough Saturday
5:29PM ( 22 minutes ago )
3 killed, 4 injured in California bowling alley shooting
Three young men were killed and four people were injured in a shooting late Friday night at a Southern California bowling alley
5:14PM ( 37 minutes ago )
No. 8 Michigan State holds off No. 14 Ohio State 86-77
Cassius Winston scores 25 points, No. 8 Michigan State beats No. 14 Ohio State 86-77 for 8th straight victory
5:02PM ( 48 minutes ago )
Weekend shutdown talks led by Pence to go into a second day
Shutdown talks between White House officials and congressional aides concluded without a breakthrough Saturday
4:51PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Christian Miller questionable for title game
The Latest on the College Football Playoff national championship media day.
4:38PM ( 1 hour ago )