Background:

• Approximately 90% of harassment victims do not file a formal claim and 75% of them never make a complaint to their employers.

• More than half of women have experienced sexual advances, sexual coercion and sexual discrimination. Of those, 1 in 3 said it involved a man from work; 1 in 4 said it involved a superior.

• More than 80% of companies have made no effort to discuss appropriate conduct, hold training or change policies. Read more on i-Sight.

DAWN

Google claimed in April 25th that they made an update on their workplace commitment. They stated that they will change how employees report harassment and discrimination allegations. Read more on Blog.Google.

Based on the The New York Times report, Google faced a year of backlash as more than 20,000 employees staged a walkout in November to protest how Google handled cases of sexual misconduct. The protest took place in Tokyo, Singapore, Switzerland, Ireland, Israel, Berlin and New York, which was prompted by the The New York Times article that revealed how Google protected Mr. Rubin, the “father of Android” after he was accused of sexual harassment. Google gave their senior executive, Andy Rubin, a $90 million exit package even after his scandal. Read more on The New York Times.

The workers demanded change. The CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, announced that the company has carried out a new comprehensive policy to address diversity and sexual harassment. In an email to Google workers, the Google CEO admitted that Google was

“has not always done everything right in the past”

and Google "will provide more transparency on how we handle concerns. We'll give better support and care to the people who raise them."

TECHSPOT

The CEO said Google has fired 48 employees for sexual harassment during the past two years and 13 of them were sent away without severance packages. Sundar Pichai wrote "We are dead serious about making sure we provide a safe and inclusive workplace." After the scandal, Google built a new dedicated site so that employees can raise concerns by bringing multiple channels together. They also published (internally) their investigation report of employee-related misconduct, which including discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, with an expanded section on sexual harassment investigations. In addition, Google is publicly sharing their workforce policies, stating clearly the definition of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation and how they will investigate the issues. Read more on Blog.Google and The New York Times.

「ATIOM TAKE」 Even though Google is one of the world’s largest companies, they still need to raise more awareness on such issues. The Google scandal reminds all of the other companies that they should put huge emphasis on sexual harassment training to ensure their employees have a safe workforce. Here we have some suggestions for companies to avoid the sexual-related problems in the future.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

It is important for employers to explicitly clarify which kind of behaviors are considered sexual harassment, for example, displaying obscene content through verbal, written, mobile phone or other means, which should be clearly written into the employee handbook or rules and regulations. Companies should improve relevant mechanism and strengthen publicity and education. A comprehensive employee complaint mechanism should be established to fully protect the privacy of harassed employees. And companies can establish regular training for employees to get knowledge of what behaviors constitute sexual harassment in the workplace.

If the incident happens, employers should communicate with the victims in time, take care of their emotions and ask them about the time, place and other evidence. They need to know that companies will stand by them, hold evidence and guarantee protection of employees’ rights.



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