Indica News Bureau –
A shareholder has filed a lawsuit against Google parent company Alphabet, asserting that some of the company’s most prominent executives ignored sexual harassment in the workplace.
The lawsuit, which was filed in California’s San Mateo Superior Court by Alphabet shareholder James Martin, accuses the company of doling out large severance packages to former executives Amit Singhal, head of Google’s search unit until 2016 and Andy Rubin, who led Google’s Android mobile operating division until 2014.
Despite finding sexual misconduct claims against Andy Rubin credible, Google reportedly paid him a $90 million exit package and Amit Singhal was allowed to quietly resign after sexual misconduct claims against him were verified.
Singhal, who joined Uber as senior vice president of engineering in 2017 had to step down after the ride-hailing company found that he had allegedly been accused of sexual harassment at Google.
Rubin and Singhal have denied the allegations.
The lawsuit accuses the board members of employing contradictory standards and wants Google to change its governance and oversight to stop future workplace conduct issues.
It also wants Alphabet directors to pay damages to Alphabet for allegedly breaching their fiduciary duties and engaging in corporate waste.
Attorneys for Martin said they intend to show that Google suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in damages because of the board’s actions.
The complaint is the second such suit to be filed this week and comes months after a New York Times report exposed how Google shielded executives accused of sexual misconduct.
The report led to thousands of employees walking out of Google offices around the world as a mark of protest. This coerced the company to end its forced arbitration policy for sexual misconduct allegations and issuing a statement that it would start providing more transparency around sexual harassment investigations.
Mandatory arbitration bars employees from taking their harassment allegations to open court. Instead, they must go for company-sponsored arbitration, in which they have a miniscule chance of winning.
“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,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who has been named as one of the defendants in the lawsuit, had said after the protests.
He added that the company had fired 48 employees for sexual harassment over the past two years and sent them away without severance packages.
Apart from Pichai, other defendants include Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and executive chairman Eric Schmidt.
The company is yet to respond to a request for comment.
(Photo Courtesy: Google Plus)