Alphabet Settles Shareholder Suits Over Sexual Harassment Claims


“Recent years have involved a lot of introspection and work to make sure we’re providing a safe and inclusive workplace,” Eileen Naughton, vice president of Google’s people operations, wrote in a blog post on the company’s website. “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.”

As part of the settlement, Alphabet agreed to form an advisory council focused on diversity, equality and inclusion made up of four executives — including Sundar Pichai, the chief executive — and three outside experts including Nancy Gertner, a retired federal judge. The group will take on a wide range of issues, including hiring and retention, compensation, and how the company responds to and investigates employee complaints.

In addition, Alphabet’s board will receive more information about how the company is handling claims of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation, and directors will receive regular reports on the compensation of any senior executives found to have engaged in serious misconduct.

Shortly after the report about the payouts to Mr. Rubin and other Google executives accused of sexual misconduct, 20,000 workers staged a walkout demanding changes to how the company treats employees. In response, Google agreed to stop forced arbitration in individual cases of sexual harassment or assault. It later expanded the policy to all employee disputes with the company.

Alphabet said it would now extend the policy to its 11 other subsidiaries, like the self-driving car company Waymo. Some of those businesses have thousands of employees.

Google employees will no longer be bound to nondisclosure agreements preventing them from discussing the underlying facts or circumstances of incidents when settling sexual harassment and retaliation claims. Alphabet said it would “encourage” its subsidiaries to do the same but was not requiring the change.

In an attempt to address past problems of executives dating subordinates, Alphabet said, it has changed its workplace romance policy so that managers are no longer allowed to date employees they supervise. The previous policy “strongly discouraged” such relationships.

Source link