Hundreds of Google employees call on company to change sexual misconduct policies that they say put the burden on survivors (GOOG, GOOGL)

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Hundreds of Google employees have signed a petition calling on the company to improve the way it handles cases of sexual harassment, and accusing it of “pushing” employees to seek mental health support when they allege instances of harassment.

The demands come after a Google employee named Ming Tao publicly claimed she was raped by a colleague and accused the company of dragging her through a bureaucratic process that made her feel “helpless.”

In an interview with Insider, Tao said she had been in touch with human resources and had received resources on therapy from Google’s employment assistance program (EAP), but she said there’s been a lack of transparency around the investigation. She also said that while she was already on leave when she reported the incident, she has since had her corporate access cut off. 

Google said Tao is still a full-time employee, and it is currently investigating her allegations.

“We have been in frequent contact with Ming during her leave, and continue to provide support and make resources available to her. We take her complaint incredibly seriously, and we’re actively working on this matter,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

Google’s handling of sexual-misconduct allegations has been a hot-button topic for the company in recent years. In 2018, Google employees held a walk-out in protest of how Google allegedly protected senior executives who were accused of sexual misconduct. 

That same year, Google announced that it would “give better support and care” to employees who raise concerns, and would no longer force its employees making sexual-harassment claims into private arbitration.

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Now, the Alphabet Workers Union — a minority union of more than 800 workers at Google and its parent company — is demanding the company stop pushing employees into its EAP therapy program when they face harassment. The union claims the program is not designed to protect employees and that it instead puts the burden on survivors to seek therapy or take leave, which could negatively affect their career at the company.

“Countless walkouts, resignations, petitions, and heartbreaking stories of abuse later, Google still has not changed their attitude and processes regarding sexual harassment,” the union wrote. So far, more than 700 Alphabet workers and 4,000 people outside the company have signed the petition.

The petition also asks that sexual assault survivors continue to be compensated, even if they are on leave. The demand came after Tao accused the company of initially not paying her while on leave.

After Insider messaged Google for comment, Tao said the company told her it would pay her during her leave. A Google spokesperson then told Insider that the initial lack of pay was “due to a technicality where we need her medical documentation to process her leave,” and that Tao would be compensated for this time, including back pay.

Current and former employees say Google promotes mental health services instead of dealing with harassment

The company’s frequent promotion of EAP and other counseling services is at the center of the union’s most recent call for …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Tech


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