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Google employees ask for more protection for whistleblowers of sexual harassment

A thousand Google workers signed a letter posted online Friday asking parent company Alphabet for more protection for those who report sexual harassment in the workplace.

The text notes that the technology giant has a pattern of protecting or even rewarding those responsible for sexual harassment, but that leaves victims to suffer in the workplace.

“Alphabet does not provide a safe environment for those who face harassment in the workplace,” the letter says.

“Even when (human resources) confirms the harassment, no steps are taken to ensure that whoever reported it is safe,” he adds.

Anyone who has harassed a coworker should be excluded from leadership roles and should change teams to distance themselves from victims, the letter demands.

“We are deeply aware of the importance of this issue,” said a Google spokesman in response to an AFP query.

“We work to support and protect people who report concerns, we thoroughly investigate all complaints and take strong action against substantiated allegations,” he added.

In a column published Friday on The New York Times website, former Google engineer Emi Nietfeld said her stalker, a co-worker, sat at a desk next to her in the office, even after to submit the complaint to the Human Resources department.

Google has faced criticism in recent years for its internal response to sexual harassment, especially if the defendants were executives.

Thousands of Google employees joined a coordinated global strike in late 2018 to protest the US tech giant’s handling of the problem.

Some 20,000 Google employees and contractors participated in the protest in 50 cities around the world, according to organizers.

“We have made significant improvements to our overall process, including the way we handle and investigate employee concerns and the introduction of new care programs for employees who report concerns,” the Google spokesperson said.

“Reporting misconduct takes courage and we will continue our work to improve our processes and support the people who do so,” he added.

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