Shareholders sue Google execs over handling of Andy Rubin sexual harassment claims
When Android founder Andy Rubin left Google in 2014, the departure was unexpected, if not shrouded in mystery. A few years later, a New York Times expose revealed that Rubin was essentially forced out of the search giant due to a handful of sexual misconduct claims from other Google employees. In ousting Rubin, Google paid the famed engineer a whopping $90 million when it could have simply fired him outright. Naturally, when the story surfaced, Google received an avalanche of criticism for not only keeping quiet about the allegations, but for paying Rubin such a generous sum of money.
The Times story first surfaced this past October and now, just a few months later, a pair of shareholder suits on the matter has emerged. Originally brought to light by the San Francisco Chronicle, both lawsuits effectively accuse the company’s board of allowing the harassment to continue while also chastising board members for approving Rubin’s exit payout.
A complaint from one of the lawsuits reads in part:
“There has been substantial evidence of sexual harassment at Google, and yet there hasn’t been the appropriate follow-through,” one of the plaintiff’s attorneys said during a recent press conference. “In fact, quite to the contrary, the perpetrators of the sexual harassment have been awarded handsomely.”
It’s also worth noting that Google’s handling of Rubin’s case elicited quite a response from Google employees as well, culminating in a coordinated global walkout among employees in November.
“Employees have raised constructive ideas for how we can improve our policies and our processes going forward,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in the wake of the protests. “We are taking in all their feedback so we can turn these ideas into action.”