Google sued over cover-up & payoffs in executive sexual misconduct

Google's being sued for paying millions of dollars to former execs accused of sexual harassment

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.

Investors believe that the Board of Directors failed in their duties, approving bigger payouts and not specifying the details of the dismissal, the Agency said.

"And to clarify: in that time, we have also not provided any exit packages to executives who departed voluntarily in the course of a sexual harassment investigation".

Shareholders have filed lawsuits against Alphabet, the parent company of Google, over allegations that the firm covered up claims of sexual misconduct against some of its top executives. "What we have asked for are a lot of changes in corporate governance at Google, and that is really the ultimate goal of this litigation".

"Rubin was allowed to quietly resign by the defendants after an internal investigation found the allegations of sexual harassment by Rubin to be credible", read the complaint. The lawsuit seeks to force Google to upgrade its governance and oversight to stop future sexual harassment and discrimination.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai was forced to apologize previous year to employees over how the company handled sexual misconduct claims. Accusations against both men were deemed to be credible, the lawsuit contends, although both deny the allegations.

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Amit Singhal, another former executive, walked away with a package after sexual harassment charges surfaced against him and David Drummond, the company's legal officer.

The case, brought by the Northern California Pipe Trades Pension Plan and Teamsters Local 272 Labor Management Pension Fund, alleges that shareholders lost value because Google was paying off senior execs accused of sexual harassment.

Rubin's lawyer Ellen Winick Stross said the lawsuit does not accurately describe Rubin's departure from Google.

In November, Google employees around the world staged a coordinated walkout to protest the company's handling of the sexual harassment allegations.

Employee organizers said they welcomed the lawsuits as they continue to push for further changes, including an employee representative on Alphabet's board.

"If the board of directors is in charge, they were supposed to "do the right thing", and in this case they've done anything but the right thing", said Louise Renne, the former City Attorney of San Francisco.

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