The Google Inc. logo is displayed on computer LCD screens in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Google Contractors Want to Be Included in New Policies on Sexual Misconduct

(Bloomberg) -- In a victory for thousands of protesting employees, Google earlier this month overhauled the way it handles allegations of sexual misconduct. But those changes largely left out a group that makes up over half of the search giant’s workforce: temporary, vendor and contract workers, a group Google refers to as TVCs.

Now, a group of workers – some of them full-time employees and others contractors – have embarked on a campaign to get Google to extend protections to TVCs, people with knowledge of the matter said. They asked not to be identified because they didn’t want to jeopardize their jobs. For starters, some workers recently set up an internal mailing list to discuss the issue and options for what to seek from Alphabet Inc.’s Google, one of the people said. To kick off conversation, the first post included a link to a July Bloomberg story on the size and role of the company’s contractors, this person said. 

The sexual misconduct policy changes, announced by Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai on Nov. 8, include an end to forced arbitration for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims, doing away with a policy that victim advocates say can deprive accusers of a fair hearing and proper redress of grievances. Google also pledged to provide more information to staff about investigations and outcomes, and to expand mandatory sexual misconduct training. 

The response frustrated some TVCs, who didn’t get an email about the changes and weren’t allowed to attend a staff meeting on the topic, the people said. 

“I absolutely support contractors in their goals,” one Google employee said, while asking not to be identified. “There are many Googlers who feel the same and will lend our weight to any efforts contractors lead on their own behalf.”

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment. The company has said it investigates whenever a contractor makes a complaint against a Google employee, and expects contracting companies to do the same when a complaint is made against a contractor.

Google also recently broadened its Supplier Code of Conduct and requires suppliers, including outside contracting firms, to “demonstrate a commitment to identify, measure, and improve a culture of diversity and inclusion through all aspects of workplace management.”

In July, Bloomberg wrote about Google’s “shadow workforce” and revealed that earlier this year, for the first time, temporary, vendor and contract workers made up more than half of the company’s total staff. These employees serve meals, write code, manage teams and sit inside self-driving cars. Unlike full-time workers, they aren’t given stock, and many struggle with inadequate health care. They aren’t allowed in some buildings or at some company meetings.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.