Google Sued for Allegedly Covering Up Sexual-Harassment Claims Against Former Execs

Photo: Noah Berger/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Google shareholders are taking the company to court. This week, a number filed a suit against Alphabet, which owns Google, saying the company deceived shareholders after investigating and confirming sexual-misconduct allegations against several former Google executives and not disclosing those findings to them. Andy Rubin, creator of Android, has received a reported $90 million in exit-package payouts since 2014, despite leaving after a female colleague, with whom he’d been having an affair, told the company he’d “coerced her into performing oral sex in a hotel room.” The suit also cites the departure of former head of search, Amit Singhal. Singhal was investigated after a female co-worker alleged he groped her at an event. (He was later forced to resign a new post at Uber for failing to disclose the circumstances surrounding his departure from Google.)

If successful, the suit, filed Thursday, would force employees who received payouts, like Rubin, to give the money back to Google. (The shareholders are also asking for a non-specified sum for damages.) The shareholders involved are also asking for three new, independent directors on the company’s board. Rubin, Singhal, CEO Sundar Pichai, and co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are all named as defendants. The suit also seeks to end Google’s current voting structure, switching to a system where one share equals one vote, which would lessen Page and Brin’s power as it exists under Google’s current dual class structure.

Two other suits were also filed against Google this week in California, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. These suits cite similar issues with the company, but were filed by pension funds. On Twitter, the folks who organized the Google walkouts at the end of 2018, following news of Rubin’s payouts, commended the suits.

The shareholder suit against Alphabet also seeks to end forced arbitration and NDAs. These were among the demands of the walkout organizers last year. Following the walkout, Google announced it would be making arbitration optional for “individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims,” but did not address cases of discrimination claims.

Google Sued for Allegedly Hiding Harassment by Former Execs