Google outlines improved handling of harassment claims

File photo showing workers protest against Google's handling of sexual misconduct allegations (AP)
Updated 08 November 2018
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Google outlines improved handling of harassment claims

  • Google will be more transparent with how concerns are handled
  • The process for handling concerns will include providing support people and counsellors

SAN FRANCISCO: Google chief Sundar Pichai outlined changes to how the Internet giant handles sexual harassment complaints, hoping to calm outrage that triggered a worldwide walkout of workers last week.
“We recognize that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that,” Pichai said in an email message to employees.
“It’s clear we need to make some changes.”
Pichai promised that Google will be more transparent with how concerns are handled, and provide better support and care to those who raise such issues with the company.
Google will provide “more granularity,” regarding sexual harassment investigations and their outcomes, according to Pichai.
He also said Google is consolidating the complaint system and that the process for handling concerns will include providing support people and counsellors.
Google will update its mandatory sexual harassment training, and make arbitration of claims optional instead of obligatory, according to Pichai.
“This is an area where we need to continually make progress and are committed to doing so,” Pichai said.
Thousands of Google employees joined a coordinated worldwide walkout a week ago to protest the US tech giant’s handling of sexual harassment.
The turnout in California was the final stage of a global walkout that began in Asia and spread to Google offices in Europe.
Some 20,000 Google employees and contractors participated in the walkout in 50 cities around the world, according to organizers.
The protest took shape after Google said it had fired 48 employees in the past two years — including 13 senior executives — as a result of allegations of sexual misconduct.
Demands posted by organizers included an end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination for all current and future employees, along with a right for every Google worker to bring a co-worker, representative, or supporter when filing a harassment claim.


Pence presses Myanmar’s Suu Kyi to pardon Reuters journalists

Updated 14 November 2018
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Pence presses Myanmar’s Suu Kyi to pardon Reuters journalists

  • Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested in Yangon in December 2017
  • Lawyers for the two Reuters reporters have lodged an appeal against their conviction

SINGAPORE: US Vice President Mike Pence pressed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi “multiple times” on Wednesday to pardon two Reuters journalists jailed in her country, a senior White House official said.
Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested in Yangon in December 2017. They were found guilty in September of breaching the Official Secrets Act and sentenced to seven years in prison.
Pence met Suu Kyi on the sidelines of an Asia summit in Singapore.
“He raised the case of two Reuters journalists in particular and raised the request that a pardon could be made,” a senior White House official told reporters on condition of anonymity. “They had a very candid exchange of views on that.”
The White House official said Pence urged Suu Kyi directly to pardon the Reuters journalists “multiple times.”
The official declined to comment on Suu Kyi’s response in the closed-door meeting.
Lawyers for the two Reuters reporters have lodged an appeal against their conviction.
At the time of their arrest in December, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were working on a Reuters investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim villagers during an army crackdown in Rakhine state.