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Google shares news: Employees demand changes to staff complaints procedure

Google shares closed lower in the US Thursday, after a global staff walk-out in protest of the way the tech giant deals with complaints over sexual harassment. They have collectively requested changes to the company’s processes in this area.

Meanwhile, CEO Sundar Pichai admits the company doesn’t always get things right.

Google shares ended the US Thursday trading session 0.42% lower at $1,085.98. However, the stock is currently a little in the green in pre-market activity.

Google staff in mass walk-out

Google staff on Thursday staged a mass, co-ordinated walk out. The organised action was in protest of the way the tech behemoth handles complaints of sexual harassment – for both the accused and the complainant.

Among the demands the staff have made, is to allow those who have been subjected to sexual harassment in work, to be allowed to settle their claim in court.

Right now, as part of their contract, Google employees sign ‘forced arbitration’ agreements. This means that any accusations of abuse are dealt with internally, with no option to take their case to a public judge.

Google CEO Pichai said he supported the staff at his firm in their walk out of the company’s actions. During an event on Thursday, he was asked about the situation and told hit audience that Google doesn’t always get it right.

“There's anger and frustration within the company,” Pichai said. “We all feel it. I feel it too.”

And as well as admitting Google makes mistakes, he added the company is “committed to doing better.”

Google executive leaves post

Earlier in the week, an executive at Google’s X lab left the company, following revelation of historical accusations of sexual harassment, revealed in last week’s NYT piece.

Richard DeVaul was accused of making inappropriate sexual advances during a job interview, in 2013. He apologised to the NYT for his “error of judgement”.

CEO Pichai has promised the firm will now take a tougher line in any case where inappropriate behaviour is discovered.

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