11:42 GMT21 October 2020
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    The Alphabet corporation announced that it will extend a ban on taking severance payments to staff or executives under investigation for sexual misconduct, previously only for those sacked for such behaviour, in apparent response to the outrage over Android developer Andy Rubin's reported $90 million golden handshake.

    Google owner Alphabet has agreed to settle a series of lawsuits brought by shareholders over its handling of sexual harassment claims.

    The software giant will also spend $310 on corporate diversity programmes and ban any employee accused of sexual misconduct from resigning and taking their severance package.

    The current policy of "prohibiting severance for anyone terminated for any form of misconduct" will be extended to "anyone who is the subject of a pending investigation for sexual misconduct or retaliation," Google Vice-President of People Operations Eileen Naughton wrote in a company blog post on Friday.

    The lawsuit mentioned company cover-ups of allegations against several executives, including Android smartphone operating system creator Andy Rubin, who left in 2014 with a reported $90 million golden handshake.

    That led to the November 1 2018 walk-out by 20,000 Google staff, mostly women, to demand changes in the company including a transparent sexual harassment procedure.

    Rubin allegedly carried on an extra-marital affair with a colleague and coerced her into performing oral sex on him in a hotel room in 2013. He denied the charges, saying: "these false allegations are part of a smear campaign to disparage me during a divorce and custody battle."

    Tags:
    lawsuit, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Android, Alphabet Inc, Google
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