SAN FRANCISCO — Google is promising to be more forceful and open about its handling of sexual misconduct cases, a week after thous­ands of high-paid engineers and others walked out in protest over its male-dominated culture.

Google bowed to one of the protesters’ main demands by dropping mandatory arbitration of all sexual misconduct cases. That will now be optional, so workers can choose to sue in court and present their case in front of a jury. It mirrors a change made by ride-hailing service Uber after complaints from its female employees prompted an internal investigation. The probe concluded that its rank had been poisoned by rampant sexual harassment.

“Google’s leaders and I have heard your feedback and have been moved by the stories you’ve shared,” CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email to Google employees. “We recognize that we have not al­ways gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that. It’s clear we need to make some changes.” Thursday’s email was obtained by The Associated Press.

Last week, the tech giant’s work­ers left their cubicles in doz­ens of offices around the world to protest what they consider man­age­ment’s lax treatment of top exec­utives and other male workers accused of sexual harassment and other misconduct. The protest’s or­gan­izers estimated that about 20,000 workers participated.

The reforms are the latest fallout from a broader societal backlash against men’s exploitation of their female subordinates in business, entertainment and politics — a movement that has spawned the “MeToo” hashtag as a sign of unity and a call for change.

Google will provide more details about sexual misconduct cases in internal reports available to all employees. The breakdowns will include the number of cases that were substantiated within various company departments and list the types of punishment imposed, including firings, pay cuts and mandated counseling.

The company is also stepping up its training aimed at preventing misconduct. It’s requiring all em­ploy­ees to go through the process an­nu­ally instead of every other year. Those who fall behind in their training, including top exec­utives, will be dinged in annual performance reviews, leaving a blem­ish that could lower their pay and make it more difficult to get promoted.

But Google didn’t address pro­testers’ demand for a commitment to pay women the same as men doing similar work. When pre­viously confronted with ac­cu­sa­tions that it shortchanges women, Google has maintained that it doesn’t discriminate.

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