The parent company of Google Alphabet has settled a shareholder lawsuit over its handling of sexual misconduct. The company announced policy changes related to the settlement, including a $ 310 million fund for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. This resolves a complaint filed in 2019, following an explosive report that Google offered multi-million dollar exit packages to executives credibly accused of sexual assault or harassment, including the former director of Andy Rubin.
CNBC reported the news earlier today. “This settlement is likely to have lasting and long-term success by making major and transformative changes at Alphabet,” the shareholders’ lawyer said in a statement to CNBC.. The statement praised the departure of the “facilitators and perpetrators,” including the January resignation of General Counsel David Drummond – who has also been investigated for inappropriate relationships with women – as well as the departure from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt of Alphabet’s board.
Alphabet had already changed some policies after employees protested, including waiving its forced arbitration rules. Now Google Vice President of Human Operations Eileen Naughton has officially announced five principles apparently developed with input from shareholders and employees. These include committing to a “respectful, safe and inclusive work environment for all employees and members of our extended workforce” and providing greater transparency regarding misconduct investigations. .
In addition to these principles, Alphabet will be establishing a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Board to oversee changes within the company. It will ban severance pay for employees who are the subject of an ongoing investigation for sexual misconduct, following an earlier ban for employees who were terminated for misconduct.