Shareholder sues Google parent company over sexual harassment scandal


A shareholder sued the board of Google Inc.'s parent company, Alphabet Inc., in San Mateo County Superior Court Thursday for allegedly tolerating and covering up sexual harassment by senior executives and giving some of them millions of dollars in exit pay.

The lawsuit by stockholder James Martin also names as defendants former senior executives Andy Rubin, who left the company with a $90 million severance package in 2014, and Amit Singhal, who resigned in 2015, allegedly with a multimillion-dollar exit payment.

The suit contends that Google found claims of sexual harassment against both men to be credible, but the board violated its duty to the company and wasted corporate money by "disregarding, covering up and rewarding the malfeasance of its senior executives."

The lawsuit asks for court orders requiring changes in Google's procedures and financial restitution to the company from Rubin, Singhal and board members.

Mountain View-based Google had no immediate comment.

Rubin developed the Android operating system and in 2005 sold his Android startup to Google and joined the company. The lawsuit alleges he pressured a woman who worked on his team to engage in a sexual encounter in 2013 and was found to have sex bondage videos on his work computer.

The suit says the board found the harassment allegations to be credible, but allowed Rubin to resign quietly with the $90 million severance package to "ensure his silence" and avoid a wrongful termination lawsuit that would have resulted in negative publicity about alleged harassment within the company.

After the New York Times published an article in October that said Rubin and others accused of misconduct were given millions of dollars in exit pay, thousands of Google workers around the world walked off the job on Nov. 1 in protest.

Several days later, Google CEO Sundar Pichai promised changes and told employees, "We recognize that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that."

The lawsuit alleges that the board implicitly maintained a double-standard policy for workers.

"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. And if you get caught, Google would keep it quiet, let you resign and pay you millions of dollars in severance.

"On the other hand, if you were a low-level employee at Google and were accused of sexual harassment or discrimination, you would be fired for cause with no severance benefits," the lawsuit claims.

The board members named in the lawsuit include Pichai, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and Alphabet's former executive board chairman Eric Schmidt.

— Bay City News Service

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5 people like this
Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 11, 2019 at 4:46 pm

I read your article for the name of the "complainant" and their previous history of civil suits and I found --- nothing!!! IMHO, this is irresponsible journalism. If corporate people are being accused of serious misconduct, then why NOT is the name and civil complaint history of the accuser being revealed too? Just what is THEIR history of complaints and convictions? Just what credibility to they have other than maybe animus toward Google? Those who accuse in civil actions must be willing to make their civil legal histories public too. That will happen during court discovery, but why not research their legal histories before "printing" one-sided stories in the Voice?

3 people like this
Posted by Maher
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jan 11, 2019 at 6:37 pm

Maher is a registered user.

Well, the good ol' boys club is certainly safely operating in the Google-sphere (as we have known for quite a while) up to and including its parents. And it seems Mr. Hitchens has problems with any journalism that dares to expose any aspect of the problem.
One step at a time, fella, it will all come out of its tidy lil' closet in good time. This crap is happening everywhere and at every level... so your naivete and worries simply don't ring true. [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]
see this world that you fellas have made. Stop using disappointed demands to change the subject. The subject is male predation of women... remember that.

9 people like this
Posted by Hear me roar
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 11, 2019 at 7:57 pm

Ah yes, just like all the facts came out after Blasey-Fords accusations.

And before you go accusing, I'm a woman. I worked my way through the 80's at a Fortune 5 company, you want to talk about good old boy, I lived it, I worked it, I managed through it. I can't tell you the number of times I had someone follow me to my hotel room from the "work conference" trying to push their way in. Fortunately I was able to deter them and it never went further, and yes I realize it could have gone much differently.

But even so, I still believe, strongly believe, that one needs to be able to provide evidence and fact, we cannot come out with these anonymous or unsubstantiated accusations. If we are going to show our strength and really fight this crap then we need to come me out with heads held high, not with anonymous accusations.

Sent from my iPad

4 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 11, 2019 at 8:18 pm

LOL is a registered user.

You referenced Ms. Blasey-Ford, and we did all see what happens when women come forward, heads held high: powerful men will attack her, suppress facts and the truth, and then move on with their lives.

3 people like this
Posted by Old Mountain View
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 12, 2019 at 9:08 am

Mountain View’s old time residence have been harassed by goodgle since they came here. Took our lands inpacted our business and housing, clogged our streets. They are the evil impire.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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