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Google's parent company settles misconduct lawsuit for $310M

Google's parent company settles misconduct lawsuit for $310M
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Alphabet, Google’s parent company, announced Friday it has reached a settlement worth $310 million in a shareholder lawsuit over the way it handled allegations accusing executives of sexual misconduct.

The tech behemoth said in a blog post announcing the settlement that it will bar people who are fired for misconduct or are the subject of sexual misconduct allegations from receiving severance packages. A team is also being formed to open inquiries into claims that are leveled against executives.

The company will also give employees the option to arbitrate their claims.

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“Over the past several years, we have been taking a harder line on inappropriate conduct, and have worked to provide better support to the people who report it. Protecting our workplace and culture means getting both of these things right, and in recent years we’ve worked hard to set and uphold higher standards for the whole company,” Eileen Naughton, Google’s vice president of People Operations, wrote. 

The settlement comes after thousands of Google workers walked out of work in 2018 to protest the $90 million in severance Android creator Andy Rubi received despite multiple claims of misconduct against him. Shareholder lawsuits swiftly followed, and Google opened an investigation into its process of handling sexual misconduct claims.

As part of the settlement, Alphabet is dedicating $310 million for “diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.” The changes it is implementing will also extend to all of Alphabet’s divisions.

“Recent years have involved a lot of introspection and work to make sure we’re providing a safe and inclusive workplace for every employee. That doesn’t stop here and you’ll receive reports on our progress as we move forward," Naughton said. "I’m grateful to everyone, especially our employees and shareholders, for providing us with feedback, and for making sure that the way we tackle these vital issues is better today than it was in the past."