Google has fired a total of 48 employees in the past two years, including 13 top officials, on allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace. The company announced that these employees were sent packing without severance packages, but the announcement came just after a New York Times report broke the news about how the internet giant paid former executive and the “father of Android”, Andy Rubin, a severance on $90 million when he left the company in 2014 after allegedly proven allegations of sexual harassment.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly wrote a letter to all employees hours after The Times’ article outed the Rubin incident. In his letter, Pichai wrote that the company is “dead serious” about making sure that it provides a safe and inclusive workplace. “In the last two years, 48 people have been terminated for sexual harassment, including 13 who were `senior managers and above,” Pichai noted in his email. “None of these individuals received an exit package,” he said. The entire email was then Tweeted out by a Buzzfeed tech reporter and you can read it in his post below.
While Pichai says in the letter that Google’s sexual harassment policy has been updated to require all SVPs and VPs to disclose any relationship with co-workers, the Times’ report on how Rubin’s exit was handled sheds a dark shadow on how the company handled his alleged sexual misconduct back in 2014.
Rubin was accused of forcing a member in the Android team into performing oral sex in a hotel room back in 2013. NYT reports that Google investigated the claim, found it to be credible, but still paid Rubin a severance of $90 million, split into $2 million a month for four years, when it had no reason to do so. “The last payment is scheduled for next month,” the report notes, going on to say that Rubin was one of the three male executive Google protected from getting reprimanded for sexual misconduct. The publication reports it “obtained corporate and court documents and spoke to more than three dozen current and former Google executives and employees about the episodes, including some people directly involved in handling them. Most asked to remain anonymous because they were bound by confidentiality agreements or feared retribution for speaking out”.
In the rising cases of sexual harassment across the world and across industries, Google is not the lone tech company where such cases are being outed. Others like Uber and and Apple have also seen incidents of workplace and sexual harassment in recent years.