Published: Sun, January 13, 2019
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Lawsuit: Google accused of tolerating, covering up sexual harassment by senior executives

Lawsuit: Google accused of tolerating, covering up sexual harassment by senior executives

The suit, by shareholder James Martin, stems from revelations previous year that the company awarded a $90 million (roughly Rs. 630 crores) exit package to executive Andy Rubin, the creator of the Android operating system, even as Rubin was being pushed out over sexual misconduct.

The suit, filed by shareholder James Martin, claims Alphabet failed in its duties to shareholders by attempting to cover up the misconduct.

The lawsuit names a total 12 current and former Alphabet directors, including Larry Page, Alphabet's CEO and Sundar Pichai, Google's chief executive.

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

THE LATEST TWIST in Google's ongoing damage control over alleged sexual misconduct allegations is a lawsuit brought about by one of the company's own shareholders.

Martin, via his lawsuit, wants to prove that Google lost hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, including the fat severance packages that were handed out to Rubin and Singhal, lost productivity from its employees around the world when the chose to stage a walk out protest to show their dissent towards the company's handling of sexual harassment cases in November a year ago and the damage to the company's reputation.

Google's board of directors and executive leadership have been accused of covering up allegations of sexual harassment against former executives.

"There has been substantial evidence of sexual harassment at Google, and yet there hasn't been the appropriate follow-through", said Louis Renne.

The suit asks for compensation and mandatory reforms of Alphabet's corporate governance and internal procedures. The company has thus far declined to issue a comment as have Rubin and Singhal, who have also denied the allegations.

The lawsuit directly accuses the directors for their wrongful conduct which allowed such instances sexual harassment to proliferate and persist in the offices of Google.

Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google, has approved significant severance packages for the Google executives that were allegedly involved in the sexual harassment, in an attempt to bury the case.

Attorneys for Martin said they plan to show that Google suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in damages because of the board's actions.

"Google's culture of racism, discrimination, and sexual harassment is not the result of a few individual bad actors - it's built into how the system works, and won't be fixed without structural change", they wrote.

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