In its efforts to build a more equitable and respectful workplace, Google has announced new measures that include new care programs for employees who report concerns and making arbitration optional for Google employees.
Eileen Naughton, VP, People Operations, stated, “We're building on our current practice of prohibiting severance for anyone terminated for any form of misconduct, and expanding the prohibition to anyone who is the subject of a pending investigation for sexual misconduct or retaliation.”
The tech giant is also setting up a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Council to advise on and oversee these efforts that will report to the Leadership Development and Compensation Committee of the Board (LDCC) on a quarterly basis on the company's progress.
Google managers will receive guidance instructing them on how misconduct should impact an employee's performance evaluation, compensation decisions, and promotion outcomes.
Naughton said that if there are allegations against any executives, a specialist team will be assigned and the results of any case will be reported to the Board's Audit Committee.
Other measures include making arbitration optional for all employees, temporary staff, vendors, and independent contractors for individual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation disputes with Alphabet, as well as following the new Alphabet model for executive investigations.
The company further stated that it will ensure that $310 Mn in funding goes toward diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and programs focused on increasing access to computer science education and careers; continuing to build a more representative workforce; fostering a respectful, equitable and inclusive workplace culture; and helping businesses from underrepresented groups to succeed in the digital economy and tech industry.
Together, Sundar Pichai, the DEI Advisory Council and the Board will uphold "Alphabet's unwavering commitment to prohibit and respond effectively to complaints of sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace".
The measures come as in recent years, the firm has undertaken a lot of introspection and work to make sure it is providing a safe and inclusive workplace for every employee. In late 2018, Alphabet's Board responded to employee concerns by overseeing a comprehensive review of policies and practices related to sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and retaliation. Similarly, an independent committee of the Board also reviewed claims raised by shareholders in early 2019 about past workplace misconduct issues.