This time last week, Google employees held massive walkouts across the country to protest the companys handling of sexual harassment in the wake of a damning New York Times piece. This morning, CEO Sundar Pichai sent a note to employees about the events that was also shared via the companys blog. We recognize that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that, the executive says in the letter. Its clear we need to make some changes. The memo follows another recent letter, in which Pichai noted the termination of 48 employees for sexual harassment over the past two years. Google walkout organizer: I hope I still have a career in Silicon Valley after thisThis latest letter also makes note of a private action plan. While not spelled out in its entirety, Pichai breaks down a handful of policy changes, including mandatory training for employees and the ways in which the company will handle sexual harassment claims going forward. Here are the bullet points: Of course, all of this only arrives in the wake of both a serious piece highlighting disturbing complaints about former employees, along with a very high-profile walkout on the part of Google employees. It never bodes well for a companys underlying culture when these sorts of actions are required to induce a fundamental change.
What started as a small planned protest against the companys handling of a sexual misconduct case has expanded into a full-blown political awakening at Google. Employees who organized last weeks unexpectedly massive 20,000-person walkout at Google offices worldwide are now pushing company leadership to institute new policy changes and put in place better protections for employees. The spark was the revelation that Android co-founder Andy Rubin was paid $90 million to leave the company in 2014, following a sexual assault allegation. Yet Googles mishandling of the case is just the latest misstep from the search giant this year that has contributed to a widening gap of trust between executive leadership and employees. Protest organizers say they now have a template to push for more change at Google going forward.