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Alibaba vows tougher zero-tolerance policy after sex assault investigation

By Zarrin Ahmed
Alibaba vows tougher zero-tolerance policy after sex assault investigation
There are three main pillars to the new policy -- creating a committee to "strengthen organizational guardrails," formulating and revising guidelines and institutionalizing positive workplace measures, the company said. File Photo by 360b/Shutterstock/UPI

Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Chinese retailer Alibaba, one of the world's largest companies, has announced a strengthened zero-tolerance policy for sexual assaults and harassment after it fired a manager who was accused by a female employee.

Earlier this week, the employee reported that a manager had sexually assaulted her during a company event in July. The company fired the manager, two others resigned and CEO Daniel Zhang criticized their response to the accusations.

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Thursday, Alibaba announced steps toward a zero-tolerance policy, which includes a five-woman committee to investigate claims of assault or harassment. An independent working team to investigate complaints will also be part of the effort, as well as an email address and hotline.

"We have decided to enact a series of actions to prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault," the company said in a statement.

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There are three main pillars to the effort -- creating the committee to "strengthen organizational guardrails," formulating and revising guidelines and policies and institutionalizing positive workplace measures.

Alibaba said it will form an appeals committee "to review any discrepancies arising from the investigation and protect the legitimate rights of all parties with impartiality," and create an ALI-WE team to "examine and eradicate inappropriate workplace behavior."

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The changes were influenced by feedback from internal discussions and suggestions.

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The company is still investigating the accusations of assault against the manager. Officials said the review is nearly complete and results are expected to be announced soon.

Founded in 1999, Hangzhou-based Alibaba Group is one of the world's largest companies and specializes in technology, retail and Internet services.

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