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Google hears protesters, changes sexual harassment policies

Reuters logo Reuters 8/11/2018 Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru and Paresh Dave in San Francisco; Editing by Anil D'Silva

a sign on the side of a building: A "Women's Walkout" at Google in protest over payout to Android chief Andy Rubin © Reuters/STEPHEN LAM A "Women's Walkout" at Google in protest over payout to Android chief Andy Rubin (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's Google said on Thursday it would make changes to how it handles sexual harassment claims, a week after thousands of its employees around the world walked off their jobs to protest its response to such issues.

Sundar Pichai wearing sunglasses and smoking a cigarette: Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during the annual Google I/O developers conference in Mountain View, California © Reuters/STEPHEN LAM Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during the annual Google I/O developers conference in Mountain View, California

Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai announced a detailed "action plan", which included making arbitration optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims.

"Going forward, we will provide more transparency on how we handle concerns," Pichai said in a note https://www.blog.google/inside-google/company-announcements/note-our-employees addressed to employees.

Pichai also said Google will provide more details around sexual harassment investigations and outcomes, as well as improving processes used to handle such concerns, including the ability for its employees to be accompanied by a support person.

Google said employees will now be required to undergo sexual harassment training annually, instead of every two years currently.

"We will update and expand our mandatory sexual harassment training," Pichai said.

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The company also said it would publicly release its harassment, discrimination and retaliation policies.

The protests at Google earlier this month followed a New York Times report that the company in 2014 gave a $90 million exit package to a senior vice president, Andy Rubin, after he was accused of sexual harassment.

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