Former DeepMind employee acuses company of mishandling sexual abuse complaint

A former DeepMind employee has accused the company of mishandling a collection of severe sexual harassment allegations. In a report printed Wednesday,  recounts the expertise of a former feminine employees member who alleges she was sexually assaulted twice by a senior researcher on the Google subsidiary. She says her harasser additionally despatched her a number of traumatic paperwork, together with one the place he made allusions to raping unconscious girls.

DeepMind finally dismissed the researcher, however not earlier than it subjected his sufferer to a disciplinary course of she argues confirmed main flaws in how the company handles such incidents. All advised, it reportedly took DeepMind seven months to deal with the complaint, and solely did so after the previous employee filed an attraction. It then allegedly took one other two months earlier than the company lastly dismissed her harasser in September 2020.

During that interval, the previous employee was advised she would face “disciplinary” motion if she talked about her complaint with colleagues. She was suggested to not go to the office the place her harasser labored, however her supervisor, not realizing the total scope of the complaint, repeatedly pushed her to attend conferences at that very same constructing. According to The Times, DeepMind didn’t place any restrictions on the alleged perpetrator, a declare the company disputes. 

A spokesperson for DeepMind stated the agency advised the researcher to not contact the employees member in September 2019. The company additionally disputes a declare the researcher acquired an award for his or her work throughout the time they had been being investigated by the company. DeepMind says the award was one meant for the workforce the alleged perpetrator labored for and was associated to a historic analysis paper.

“According to your own findings, I was subjected to sexual harassment, assault and abuse… I will never be the same person. I have spent almost the entire last year fearing for my safety. There is absolutely… no reason why the investigation was so dysfunctional,” the previous employee stated in an August 2020 e mail to DeepMind’s senior management.

“Any incident of sexual assault or harassment is abhorrent. DeepMind takes all allegations of workplace misconduct extremely seriously and we place our employees’ safety at the core of any actions we take,” DeepMind advised Engadget. “The allegations were investigated thoroughly, and the individual who was investigated for misconduct was dismissed without any severance payments.”

Following the incident, DeepMind advised Engadget it carried out a collection of insurance policies to alter the way it investigates such issues. Among different adjustments, the company says it now communicates extra clearly how staff ought to go about elevating considerations, and that it has a greater system in place to assist employees who complain of harassment and discrimination. It additionally advised The Times it “regrets” the previous employees member was supplied with “incorrect guidance around breaking confidentiality.”

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