Alibaba introduces new workplace measures to address sexual assault allegations

As police continue to investigate the sexual assault allegations, Alibaba has taken feedback from staff on how it better prevent workplace sexual harassment.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor
Image: Getty Images

After Alibaba announced at the start of the week it suspended staff for being involved in sexually assault allegations surrounding another employee, the company on Thursday introduced various measures aimed at improving workplace culture.

The new measures were announced to staff in a memo before it was made publicly available shortly after.

"Over the past few days, we have been working diligently. Following a thorough review and intense discussions, we have decided to enact a series of actions to prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault. These actions have incorporated the feedback on our intranet, the notes received in our open mailbox, and the discussions in various DingTalk chat groups," Alibaba wrote in the memo.

Among the new measures are establishing a workplace environment committee aimed at preventing sexual harassment, revising various code of conduct guidelines and policies, sexual harassment training, establishing a safe space group, and establishing a counselling and legal support hotline.

The workplace environment committee will appoint an independent team responsible for investigating any complaints and reports related to sexual harassment and sexual assault, Alibaba said.

The changes come after one of Alibaba's employees came forward about being sexually assaulted during a business trip.

The alleged victim published an 11-page PDF online detailing that she was sexually assaulted by a client during a business trip, according to Nikkei. The PDF has circulated heavily on Weibo, the report said.

Chinese police are still investigating the matter, but the employee that brought the alleged victim to the business trip has been fired and two Alibaba executives who ignored the allegations have resigned since the incident came to light.

In a New York Times report, various sources reportedly said sexual harassment and forced drinking was rampant in China's tech industry, detailing that fresh hires have been required to answer deeply personal sexual questions in front of colleagues.

"Alibaba Group has a zero-tolerance policy against sexual misconduct, and ensuring a safe workplace for all our employees is Alibaba's top priority," an Alibaba spokesperson said when it first addressed the sexual assault allegations.

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