Google board sued for hushing up sexual misconduct case, paying Android creator $90 M at exitSohini Mitter
The lawsuit names 12 current and past directors of Alphabet, including founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and CEO Sundar Pichai.
Google came under the scanner last October when reports emerged that it had paid a $90 million exit package to Andy Rubin, the father of Android, to hush up allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Rubin left the internet giant in 2014 to set up his own venture. While Google claimed that it had “asked” Rubin to resign in the wake of the allegations, it did its bit to hush up the incident and make his exit look amicable. Google even went on to invest in Rubin’s new Essential Phone company.
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.
“Rubin was allowed to quietly resign by defendants Larry Page and Sergey Brin after an internal investigation found the allegations of sexual harassment by Rubin to be credible,” according to the lawsuit filed in a California state court on Thursday.
“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 complaint added.
The lawsuit names 12 present and former directors of Alphabet, including Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and CEO Sundar Pichai among others, for giving Rubin a “hero’s farewell”. It seeks damages as well as improvements in Google’s corporate governance policies.
Google is yet to respond to the complaint.
During his time at Google, Rubin was allegedly involved in human sex trafficking and is said to have offered hundreds of thousands of dollars to women employees in the company for, in his own words, “owning” them.
Shortly after the allegations surfaced, 20,000 Google employees across the world staged a walkout as a mark of protest against the company’s toxic work culture and its inaction against claims of harassment and abuse. It eventually prompted Google to amend its workplace policies and give employees the option to directly approach courts for sexual conduct-related issues.
In a memo to Google employees in November, Pichai wrote, “It’s clear that to live up to the high bar we set for Google, we need to make some changes. Going forward, we will provide more transparency into how you raise concerns and how we handle them. We will provide better care and support to people who raise concerns. And we will double down on our commitment to be a representative, equitable, and respectful workplace.”