Google has struggled to address harassment in the workplace, especially when it comes to cases of sexual harassment brought against some of its higher ranking executives.
It’s something that higher-ups at the company have been grappling with, and now Google’s LGBTQ+ employees are also coming into focus, with a recently penned letter by CEO Sundar Pichai doing the rounds thanks to The Verge.
A handful of Google execs have already spoken out about their embarrassment over how LGBTQ+ employees have been treated by the company to date but, as Engadget points out, this new letter from Pichai carries extra weight given his position.
The letter, pasted in full below, sees Pichai apologise and pledge his support for LGBTQ+ employees at Google, but more importantly notes that the firm is going to take measures to ensure that changes happen at the company to make it a more inclusive environment.
Whether said steps will indeed to be taken remains to be seen, but at the very least it’s clear that Google is beginning to understand that as an organisation, it serves as a bastion for equality in the workplace. The same goes for the platforms it owns, such as YouTube, which too is wrestling with how it handles creator abuse on its site when it comes to gender, race or sexual orientation.
The cynical view on the recently released letter is that it’s simple politicking, and no tangible changes will come out as a result.
That said, we’re still cautiously optimistic that if Pichai has no stated his stance on the matter, something can begin to be done.
Pichai’s full letter to Google employees is as follows:
I want to thank the Gayglers Americas Steering Committee and [email protected] for the good discussion yesterday.
It was important for me to hear directly from LGBTQ+ Googlers to better understand the full range of experiences. One thing that came through very clearly is the LGBTQ+ community has felt a lot of pain and frustration over recent events.
Yesterday, Susan apologized publicly for the pain some of these issues have caused. I share that feeling and especially regret that this happened during Pride month when we should be celebrating the incredible LGBTQ+ community you all have built at Google.
Our Gaygler and Trans communities have always been a core part of Google culture. You are a source of pride for us as Googlers, and also a source of hope for people globally who don’t feel comfortable being out in their own workplaces and communities. It’s important to me that we continue to work hard to ensure Google is a place where everyone feels included.
With respect to YouTube, Susan and the team are already taking a hard look at the harassment policies and will do this in consultation with many groups, including people who have themselves experienced harassment. We’re also thinking through ways to engage more with our LGBTQ+ community at important moments and get input from our ERG leads and representatives.
Our discussion yesterday was a great starting point. It was a tough conversation at times — and I really appreciate the honestly and rigor you brought to it. Thank you again for your candor, your ideas, and your commitment. Look forward to continuing the conversation. I am committed to taking action and working with you all to make our workplace more inclusive and to ensure our products work for everyone.
[Source – The Verge]