Google shares closed lower in the US Friday, a day after the global tech giant said it would end forced arbitration in sexual harassment complaints from its staff. Following that decision, Facebook has also amended its policy regarding complaints against unwanted sexual behaviour.
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Google’s decision followed a global staff walk out that was prompted by revelations over how some previous senior executives had, essentially, been financially rewarded after complaints of sexual harassment had been made against them.
Google shares ended the US Friday trading session 1.61% lower at $1,077.02. The stock is also currently trading in the red in out-of-hours activity.
Google ends forced arbitration
Late last week, following a global staff protest, Google CEO, Sundar Pichai sent a staff memo out, stating the tech firm would no longer force staff members who make a complaint of sexual harassment, to go through its own company arbitration process.
This was one of the demands made by the staff when they walked out in the wake of a New York Times story detailing specific cases of sexual harassment at the company, where the accused was given a pay-off and the complainant had no way of taking the matter further.
“We recognize that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that,” CEO Pichai wrote. “It’s clear we need to make some changes.”
“We will make arbitration optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims. Google has never required confidentiality in the arbitration process and arbitration still may be the best path for a number of reasons (e.g. personal privacy) but, we recognize that choice should be up to you,” Pichai said.
Facebook updates policy
Following that decision from Google, fellow US tech giant Facebook has chosen to make the same change to their own staff policies.
Reports published Friday showed that Facebook has also moved to give its staff a choice over how to pursue complaints against sexual harassment at work.
“Today, we are publishing our updated Workplace Relationships policy and amending our arbitration agreements to make arbitration a choice rather than a requirement in sexual harassment claims,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement, according to Art Technica.
“Sexual harassment is something that we take very seriously and there is no place for it at Facebook,” it said.