SAN MATEO, Calif. -- In response to a New York Times article published Thursday, Google said they've fired dozens of employees for sexual harassment.
Below is a copy of an email, provided to ABC7 News by a Google spokesperson, that was sent to employees by Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Google Vice President of People Operations Eileen Naughton.
Today's story in the New York Times was difficult to read.
We are dead serious about making sure we provide a safe and inclusive workplace. We want to assure you that we review every single complaint about sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct, we investigate and we take action.
In recent years, we've made a number of changes, including taking an increasingly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority: in the last two years, 48 people have been terminated for sexual harassment, including 13 who were senior managers and above. None of these individuals received an exit package.
In 2015, we launched Respect@ and our annual Internal Investigations Report to provide transparency about these types of investigations at Google. Because we know that reporting harassment can be traumatic, we provide confidential channels to share any inappropriate behavior you experience or see. We support and respect those who have spoken out. You can find many ways to do this at go/saysomething. You can make a report anonymously if you wish.
We've also updated our policy to require all VPs and SVPs to disclose any relationship with a co-worker regardless of reporting line or presence of conflict.
We are committed to ensuring that Google is a workplace where you can feel safe to do your best work, and where there are serious consequences for anyone who behaves inappropriately.
Sundar and Eileen
On Thursday night, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., held a panel discussion in San Mateo about overcoming sexual trauma, as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Abuse survivor Jessica Hudson was on the panel.
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"He held me down and he hit my face over and over again while he raped me," Hudson said of her husband. Hudson left her husband three years ago after six years in the abusive marriage. They are still going through a divorce. She said he worked at Google then and works there now.
"The people who worked at Google, who all knew him, sided with him very quickly," Hudson said.
Hudson has never worked at Google herself, but said she would sometimes visit her husband on campus while they were together and has spoken to many other women who are part of the Silicon Valley tech world.
She said Pichai's email and 48 Google employees being fired for sexual harrasment doesn't surprise her: "It's just so prevalent to sort of treat women as objects."
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But Hudson said the panel discussion is a positive step forward.
"I'm glad, though, it's out there and we're going to talk about it because it's a big problem in our area," she said.
Rep. Speier knew about the Google email. "We've known for some time is that it's a bit of a frat house and it's predominantly men," Speier said of the "culture" in Silicon Valley.
Speier said without more details about the circumstances of the 48 fired Google employees, it's hard to say if the culture at the tech giant has changed.
"It starts at the top and so I'm hoping that the CEO is going to take a very strong public stand about this issue and also make sure that zero tolerance is indeed not just words but action," she said.
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