San Francisco, US, Sep 25 (efe-epa).- Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has reached an out-of-court settlement to end lawsuits over mismanaging sexual harassment claims, agreeing to a series of new measures to prevent sexual misconduct and committing $310 million to promote corporate diversity and inclusion.
Alphabet filed the settlement on Friday in California Superior Court and said it would now allow Google employees to discuss facts of their sexual harassment cases publicly.
It also pledged that its employees would no longer be forced to settle disputes with Alphabet in private arbitration.
The Silicon Valley company said it would ban workplace romantic relationships between managers and subordinates.
“The changes we’ve made to build a more equitable and respectful workplace include overhauling the way we handle and investigate employee concerns, introducing new care programs for employees who report concerns, and making arbitration optional for Google employees,” Eileen Naughton, vice president of Google’s People Operations, wrote in a blog post on the company’s website.
She said the company would ensure that the pledged $310 million in funding went toward diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and programs focused on increasing access to computer science education and careers.
The funds would also be used “to build a more representative workforce. fostering a respectful, equitable and inclusive workplace culture, and helping businesses from underrepresented groups to succeed in the digital economy and tech industry.”
Google workers had demanded such changes after details of sexual harassment cases at the company became public two years ago.
The company thus ended employee protests and court disputes against what critics consider a corporate culture that protects sexual harassers.
Alphabet suffered major protests two years ago after it widespread reports that Google gave Android co-founder Andy Rubin, tainted by sexual allegations, a $90 exit package, and a hero’s farewell when left in October 2014.
Google co-founder Larry Page had asked Rubin to resign after “credible” allegations that he had forced an employee to perform oral sex with him in a hotel room in 2013.
The company made no mention of the sex allegations against Rubin when he left the company.
However, after it became known, thousands of Google employees across the world walked out of their offices for a few minutes in protest and demanding changes in Google’s handling of sexual harassment cases.
More protests took place in the months that followed as well as the filing of numerous lawsuits against the management. EFE-EPA