Google workers petition to bar those accused of harassment from management

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Google workers launched a petition Friday calling for the company to bar employees who have harassment claims against them from managing others. 

“No harasser should manage or lead a team — whether directly or indirectly — including dotted line reports or managing temps, vendors, or contractors,” the petition states.

The document, signed by more than 500 employees as of Friday afternoon, also calls for Google to force any employees with verified claims of harassment to change teams so that workers are not forced to work with their alleged harassers.

“HR already has a process in place for romantic relationships that could create potential workplace problems. They should use that same process. Alphabet has stricter policies around consensual relationships than they do for harassment,” the petition states. 

The petition was launched a couple of days after Emi Nietfeld, a former Google engineer, alleged in The New York Times that she was forced to work directly with her alleged harasser, sitting next to him and having one-on-one meetings, after filing a complaint with human resources.

The workers who launched the petition said the behavior is part of a “long pattern where Alphabet protects the harasser instead of protecting the person harmed by the harassment.” 

“The person who reports harassment is forced to bear the burden, usually leaving Alphabet while their harasser stays or is rewarded for their behavior,” the petition states. 

In response to the petition, a spokesperson for Google said the company is “deeply aware of the importance of this issue” and noted the company’s “significant improvements” on its process to investigate claims. 

The spokesperson’s statement, however, did not directly respond to the petition’s demands. 

“We work to support and protect people who report concerns, thoroughly investigate all claims and take firm actions against substantiated allegations,” the spokesperson said in a statement. 

“We’ve made significant improvements to our overall process, including the way we handle and investigate employee concerns, and introducing new care programs for employees who report concerns. Reporting misconduct takes courage and we’ll continue our work to improve our processes and support for the people who do.” 

This is not the first time Google workers have taken action to demand change on sexual harassment. 

In November 2018 more than 20,000 Google employees and contractors worldwide walked out in an effort to push for change on sexual harassment and misconduct. The petition states that Google did not meet the demands pushed for in the 2018 walkout.

Tags Alphabet Google Google walkouts Harassment Sexual harassment Workplace bullying

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