Google to end forced arbitration for sexual harassment

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai said Thursday the company will end a policy requiring employees submit sexual harassment claims to arbitration after protests.

Pichai sent a note Thursday to employees on the change to its sexual harassment and misconduct policies in the aftermath of more than 20,000 Google employees walking out in protest last week.

A New York Times report on revealing how the forced arbitration process had protected executives accused of sexual misconduct sparked the protests.

Google has fired 48 people over the past two years for sexual harassment, Pichai revealed in an email to employees in response to the Times report.

"We recognize that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that," Pichai wrote in the note to employees Thursday. "It's clear we need to make some changes."

Protesters had criticized the forced arbitration process for preventing victims from taking their claims to court and silencing their stories.

The company said it would make arbitration optional for sexual harassment claims and would be more transparent. It also plans to update its sexual harassment training and reporting process.

"Going forward, we will provide more transparency on how we handle concerns," Pichai wrote. "We'll give better support and care to the people who raise them. And we will double down on our commitment to be a representative, equitable, and respectful workplace."

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