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Google limits alcohol at work in sexual harassment crack-down



Sundar Pichai
CEO Sundar Pichai


  • As part of Google’s
    new policies to deal with sexual harassment complaints at the
    company, CEO Sundar Pichai disclosed new rules for drinking at
  • Google says it will hold managers responsible for
    discouraging excessive drinking, not just in the office, but at
    any party or event where employees get together.
  • Pichai says that alcohol was frequently cited in
    incidents of reported sexual harassment and that, if things
    don’t change, he may implement “more onerous actions.”

In response to
a recent employee walkout
protesting how Google has handled
sexual harassment cases, CEO Sundar Pichai released new policies
for employees on Thursday. 

Some of the new policies were items that the protesting workers
had called for, like ending forced arbitration for employees who
want to sue over harassment claims. But Google also included a
new measure
in its new list of policies 
that may catch some
employees by surprise: a crack down on alcohol at work and
after hours, at all work-related functions.

The policy says that that leaders who do not take steps to limit
drinking at events will be on the hook, citing a statistic that
says in 20% of Google’s reported sexual harassment cases, alcohol
played a role. 

Read: One
of Google’s new sexual harassment policies could be the key to
changing all of Silicon Valley’s bro culture

The policy also warns that Google “will impose more onerous
actions if problems persist.”  We take that to mean that
Pichai may attempt to ban alcohol altogether.

Silicon Valley has a drinking culture and Google is at least
partially the reason why. In its early years, Google
was a wild, childlike place to work, filled with people in their
20s. It was deliberately trying not be your father’s and mother’s
stuffy kind of corporation. The company would throw wild parties,
with lots of alcohol and other substances,
early employees have described.

But the seeds of that corporate culture have grown into a tree.
And it may be time to prune it.

Here is the alcohol policy
Google disclosed
on Thursday:

Excessive alcohol: Harassment is never acceptable and alcohol is
never an excuse. But one of the most common factors among the
harassment complaints made today at Google is that the
perpetrator had been drinking (~20% of cases). Our policy is
clear: Excessive consumption of alcohol is not permitted when you
are at work, performing Google business, or attending a
Google-related event, whether onsite or offsite.

Going forward, all leaders at the company – Directors, VPs and
SVPs – will be expected to create teams, events, offsites and
environments in which excessive alcohol consumption is strongly
discouraged. For example, many teams have already put two-drink
limits in place for events. Others use drink ticket systems. The
onus will be on leaders to take appropriate steps to restrict any
excessive consumption among their teams, and we will impose more
onerous actions if problems persist.

Get the latest Google stock price here.

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