Google Board Covered Up Sexual Misconduct, Shareholders Allege

11 Janvier, 2019, 18:09 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Google parent Alphabet's board sued on allegations of sexual misconduct cover-up

Now, an Alphabet shareholder has filed a lawsuit against the Google board for doling out the $90-million severance package to Rubin and protecting other executives accused of sexual misconduct, Bloomberg reported.

"If you were a high‐level male executive at Google responsible for generating millions of dollars in revenue, Google would let you engage in sexual harassment". The New York Times reported that members of Google's board approved Rubin's stock grant in 2014 after an inquiry into the allegations against him began.

Shareholders have filed a lawsuit against Alphabet, the parent company of Google.

The lawsuit makes reference to oversize severance packages that Google reportedly paid to Android creator Andy Rubin, and Amit Singhal, head of Google's search unit until 2016.

As compensation for this breach, the claimants want the San Mateo County Court to rule "against all of the Defendants and in favor of the Company for the amount of all damages sustained by Alphabet as a result of Defendants' breaches of fiduciary duties, unjust enrichment, and corporate waste, including any and all damages compensable by statute and/or law, as well as disgorgement of all profits, benefits and other compensation that Defendants obtained".

The suit also asks Alphabet to alter its shareholder voting structure, which now provides the co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, majority voting rights even though they no longer own the majority of shares.

News of the payout ignited unprecedented outrage among Google employees, thousands of whom staged a global walkout to demand change.

The employee demonstrations followed a New York Times report in October that said Google in 2014 gave a $90 million USA exit package to Rubin, who said the terms of his departure were mischaracterized.

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A similar lawsuit was filed Wednesday by Northern California Pipe Trades Pension Plan and Teamsters Local 272 Labor Management Pension Fund.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai issued a letter to staff at the time Rubin's payout was made public, claiming the company fired 48 employees in the past two years for sexual misconduct.

Singhal was sacked from Uber Technologies Inc.in 2017 for failing to disclose the allegations he faced at the Mountain View, California-based company, where he was the longtime head of the powerful search division. All nine directors were informed that "the allegations were credible", according to the complaint.

"The conduct of Rubin and other executives was disgusting, illegal, immoral, degrading to women, and contrary to every principle that Google claims it abides by", the shareholder said in the complaint.

Singhal didn't respond to a request for comment. "Andy denies any misconduct, and we will vigorously defend him against these baseless claims".

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Louise Renne, one of the lawyers who filed the suit, offered the following during a press conference. Her co-counsel, Ann Ravel, was a commissioner for the Federal Election Commission under the Obama administration. It seeks damages as well as improvements in Google's corporate governance policies.

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