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Google has changed its policy on sexual harassment cases in response to employee demands
Google employees, who walked off the job to protest the internet company’s lenient treatment of executives accused of sexual misconduct, leave after attending a protest rally on Thursday, Nov. 1, in New York. Bebeto Matthews/AP

On Nov. 1, Google employees around the world dropped work to protest the company’s handling of previous sexual assault cases. On Thursday, the tech giant announced that it would be making some changes to the way such issues are handled.

Google’s revised policies toward sexual misconduct were laid out in a blog post titled “A note to our employees” by CEO Sundar Pichai. Among the changes: arbitration for individual claims is now optional, and the company will offer transparency toward the number of sexual harassment claims made in its investigations report. Additionally, in a document linked to in the blog post, Google noted that employees will be able to bring a companion with them to human resources when reporting harassment or discrimination and all employees will be required to take annual sexual harassment training.

During the walkout, Google employees demanded that Google have an employee representative on its board to represent the workers, as well as commit to ending pay inequity. Google’s new policy made no mention of such a representative and its pay inequity strategy was simply to stick to its original company goals.

The Google walkout was organized after a New York Times article unearthed new details surrounding Andy Rubin, a co-founder of Android, who left Google in 2014 after accusations of sexual misconduct. The New York Times reported Google had offered him a $90 million settlement — $2 million a month for the past four years. Rubin’s last payment was reportedly scheduled for November.

In the statement from Pichai, he promised the company would continue to work on issues related to sexual harassment claims and the protocol that follows.

“This is an area where we need to continually make progress and are committed to doing so,” the CEO said.