Published: Sun, January 13, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Google board sued for hushing misconduct claims about Rubin

Google board sued for hushing misconduct claims about Rubin

The suit, by shareholder James Martin, stems from revelations a year ago 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.

James Martin's lawsuit claims that members of Alphabet's board of directors - including big names such as Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt - were involved in covering up sexual harassment allegations against former executives. The New York Times had revealed that Google executives approved a four-year, $90m pay package for Rubin after an employee accused the executive of sexual harassment.

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. Company investigations into both men had found accusations of sexual harassment against them to be credible, according to the lawsuits.

Teamsters Local 272 Labor Management Pension Fund and Northern California Pipe Trades Pension Plan filed another suit that accused the company's board of operating a "pattern of concealment", that allowed "a pervasive culture of harassment and discrimination.". "While at Google, Rubin is also alleged to have engaged in human sex trafficking - paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to women to be, in Rubin's own words, "owned" by him".

A lawsuit filed this week in California sees an Alphabet shareholder suing Alphabet.

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After the reaction to the story in The Times, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sought to reassure employees about the company's stand against sexual harassment.

Rubin and Singhal have denied the allegations.

The suit comes after Google reportedly gave generous exit packages to executives accused of sexual misconduct.

"This lawsuit, like much of the recent media coverage, mischaracterizes Andy's departure from Google and sensationalizes claims made about Andy by his ex-wife", Stross wrote. It's also urging an end to so-called "dual class voting structure", which would reduce the power of Google's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. "Andy left Google voluntarily".

"There has been substantial evidence of sexual harassment at Google, and yet there hasn't been the appropriate follow-through", said Louis Renne. "And fallout from the purported scandal led to billions of dollars in losses to Alphabet's value in the stock market, lawyer Frank Bottini said at a press conference in San Francisco".

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