Google's top executives say they do not want employees, especially women, to be forcibly silenced when it comes to talking about labor issues like sexual harassment.
In a conversation with Recode & # 39; s Kara Gisher and Ari Melber of MSNBC, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, said they would not have "problems" to free women from contracts known as non-disclosure agreements, which some companies use to prevent women from talking publicly about problems in the workplace once they have reached an agreement with a company.
The exchange took place during the recording of a new Recode television show that came to MSNBC, called "Revolution." The executive director of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki, who was also part of the discussions, agreed.
Here's the exchange:
Kara Swisher: "Will you release women on Google from your non-disclosures that you may or may not have signed so they can tell your stories?"
Your Pichai standard: "I do not have any problems with that, I do not think we make confidentiality agreements on this kind of issues".
Susan Wojcicki: "I mean, I think we're open to that, we have not discussed this, but I think it can make sense, we want to provide a more open environment and, if there are problems and stories, we want to hear them and talk And I think that at the end of the day comes from the CEO, it comes from the top, and we need the leadership to be able to say: "This is the right thing, this is the way you run a technology company." And We need Silicon Valley CEOs to take a firm stand that they want an open environment and diverse environment. "
It is not known if there are former Google employees currently under such NDA agreements.
Update: A Google spokesperson communicated to confirm that the company does not have any agreement – employment, NDA or settlement agreements – that prevents a Google employee from publicly discussing a problem of harassment.
When BuzzFeed wrote a story about this type of NDA last November, a Google spokesperson told the publication: "We encourage our employees to report concerns about harassment … Our employment agreements do not prohibit anyone from speaking publicly. about cases of harassment. "
(Employment agreements are not the same as non-disclosure agreements, however).
Today's discussion came on the heels of what was a significant year of self-reflection in Silicon Valley regarding the problems of workplace culture.
In Uber, for example, numerous top executives, including CEO Travis Kalanick, resigned or were fired when stories of the company sibling culture were leaked. Others, including some well-known investors in Silicon Valley, have been exposed by similar problems related to sexual harassment.
At Google, the company dealt with its own problem of discrimination, although it may not be what you would have expected. A former engineer, James Damore, was fired after he sent an internal memo that suggested that women were underemployed in the technology industry for biological reasons. Now he is suing the company for discriminating against white men.