February 23, 2024

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Google parent Alphabet settles shareholder lawsuit over sexual misconduct claims


Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. 

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Google’s parent company Alphabet has settled a shareholder lawsuit over the company’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations.

As part of the settlement, announced Friday, Alphabet will commit $310 million to corporate diversity initiatives, as well as form an advisory board dedicated to diversity and equality issues. The board will include CEO Sundar Pichai as well as outside experts. 

“The settlement fundamentally alters Alphabet’s workplace policies,” said Julie Goldsmith Reiser, a partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, one of the firms representing Alphabet shareholders. “These changes, along with the financial commitment to DEI initiatives, position Alphabet to lead as much in workplace equity as it is does in technology and innovation.”

Google human resources chief Eileen Naughton emailed employees Friday to announce the changes. “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,” she wrote. “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.”

This is a developing story…

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