Google to end 'forced arbitration' in sexual harassment claims at the company

Google has promised to improve the way it handles sexual harassment cases within the company.

The move has been welcomed by campaigners who staged a walkout in Dublin and other Google offices worldwide last week.

Around 20,000 Google staff staged a mass walk-out last week at the firm's outlets around the world, including in Dublin.

They were unhappy with the way sexual harassment cases are dealt with, highlighted by big money pay-offs for executives who had credible harassment claims made against them.

In an email to staff, Google said it was meeting one of their key demands by ending "forced arbitration" in cases where a staff member makes a sexual harassment claim.

Workers will also be allowed to bring representatives to meetings with Human Resources.

Mandatory annual training on awareness about harassment is being introduced, and the company will discourage excessive alcohol use at company events.

The walk-out organisers have welcomed the end to forced arbitration, saying it is proof that collective action works.

However, the activists say not enough progress is being made on tackling racism and other forms of discrimination within the corporation.

It says there is still a big divide between the benefits given to full-time staff, who are mostly white, compared to conditions for contract workers most of whom are African-American and other people of colour.

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