- After employees complained about being harassed and threatened on internal forums, Google released new company policies on civil communication, reports Gizmodo.
- Employees have been discussing hot-button issues on mailing lists and messaging platforms, leading to some problems. Former Google employee James Damore recently sued the company after he was fired for questioning the value of diversity; and according to Gizmodo, employees who take the opposite stance are not only harassed while they're on duty, but have also faced issues outside of work.
- The new policies clarify behaviors that constitute harassment and offer guidelines on how employees should communicate with each other, Gizmodo reports. They also explain how HR investigates and resolves problems and informs employees of their rights to discuss working conditions. Employees who administer mailing lists also must now moderate conversations.
Google has made clear that it wants to maintain its "open" culture, while putting an end to bullying and harassment. Its efforts will certainly be one to watch, as civility rules can require employers to walk a fine line to avoid infringing on workers' other rights.
But when employees are excluded, engagement and productivity will lag, so for employers facing a similar problem, an "all hands on deck" approach can communicate that everyone is central to an organization's success. Barbara Porter, chief customer experience officer for Senn Delaney, a culture-shaping firm, previously told HR Dive that a healthy workplace culture means creating the right environment for people to succeed and to impact business results. And that includes all workers.
And when an employer knows about harassment, it has a responsibility to take action, experts told attendees at recent conference. Pavneet Singh Uppal and Shayna Balch, both partners at Fisher Phillips LLP, encouraged HR professionals to take an active role in investigating harassment in the workplace and to take corrective action to ensure any such behavior does not continue.