A highly circulated New York Times report published on October 25 alleged that Google had offered Android co-founder Andy Rubin a $90 million exit package along with a grand farewell in 2014 while concealing sexual misconduct charges against him. Responding to the allegations, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has stated in an official mail to all the employees that Google is “dead serious” about sexual harassment at workplace and has reportedly fired 48 accused employees in the past.
The report directly accused Google of ‘protecting’ three senior executives including Rubin, who were facing sexual harassment allegations. Without disclosing the names of the other two accused, it stated that in two of the cases Google paid millions as compensation to the executives after asking them to resign, all the while maintaining their silence on the complaints. In the other case, the third accused continued to enjoy all the privileges at a senior post with no action initiated against him.
Andy Rubin has multiple records of inappropriate conduct
Andy Rubin, the celebrated co-founder of Android software, have had multiple harassment complaints against him which were seemingly covered up by Google. Reportedly, in 2013, Andy Rubin forced a subordinate employee to perform oral sex in a hotel room. Apparently, he was involved in an extra-marital affair with the woman who wanted to end her involvement with him. She agreed to meet Rubin in a hotel where he coerced her into the sex act.
In a recent civil suit filed by Rubin’s ex-wife Rie Rubin, she alleged that throughout the course of their marriage, Rubin was involved in disturbing “ownership relationships” with several women, to whom he paid exorbitant amounts of money.
A shocking screenshot of an August 2015 email has also been attached in the civil suit which confirms Rubin’s depraved mindset. In the mail, he wrote to a woman, “Being owned is kinda like you are my property, and I can loan you to other people.”
Anonymous sources inside the tech giant revealed that bondage sex videos were once discovered by security staff on Rubin’s work computer. After ensuring no leakage of the scandalous findings, Google took action against Rubin by stalling his bonus that year.
Moreover, employees who have worked in association with Rubin have claimed that his behaviour towards subordinates was very demoralising, and he considered most of them as incompetent.
Rubin, in response to the allegations, has dubbed the New York Times report as inaccurate.
He also added that it was a defamation tactic by his former wife.
Google has ‘paid out’ Rubin
Despite a series of inappropriate behaviour, Rubin was a highly prized cog in the Google wheel. In fact, Google has persistently offered steady increments, promotions and benefits to him, including a $40 million bonus amount in 2013, followed by $72 million in the next two years.
In 2014, the victim reported a formal complaint about the hotel room incident to Google’s human resource department, after which an internal probe proved Rubin’s offence. A few months later, Rubin announced his resignation, which was actually Google deciding to release him with a compensation amounting to a whopping $90 million. Google even ‘celebrated’ his farewell, with CEO Larry Page remarking that he felt Rubin deserved proper compensation for his extraordinary contribution when inquired about the generous exit package. To simplify, Google had ‘paid out’ Rubin, as pointed out by The Atlantic.
Andy Rubin is not the only offender Google ‘protected’
Sexual harassment charges against high-profile Google employees have surfaced time and again, and saw the same pattern of inaction and ‘protection’ by Google.
Former CEO Eric Schmidt “once retained a mistress to work as a company consultant, according to four people with knowledge of the relationship” – as stated in the detailed report.
As per the company protocol, employees are supposed to disclose any relationship with coworkers. However, in reality, very few men in power abided by it, including co-founder Sergey Brin, who was reportedly involved in an extra-marital affair with an employee in 2014. Chief legal officer David Drummond also had an extra-marital relationship with legal manager Jennifer Blakely. When the matter came into light, Blakely was transferred to another department and faced complications which led her to leave the firm later. On the other hand, Drummond’s career has only seen promotions.
One of the directors of GoogleX, Richard DeVaul, allegedly behaved indecently with a job candidate by offering her a topless backrub but did not face any consequent action. Two years later, when she mustered the courage to confront the company about the issue, an HR official tried to brush aside her claims as unlikely to be true, later adding that ‘appropriate action’ has been initiated so she should ‘keep quiet. In reality, DeVaul only saw an upswing in his career.
Google Search Vice President, Amit Singhal allegedly groped an employee in 2015 in a drunken state. Much similar to Rubin’s case, Google’s investigation hinted at the credibility of the claims. Singhal was not fired, rather the company accepted his resignation while arranging for an exit package worth millions. Singhal, who joined Uber afterwards, was later dismissed by the company when charges of his misconduct at Google was outed by Recode, a tech news website.
Google claims a no tolerance policy for sexual offenders
As stated by CNBC, in a mail addressed to all employees, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and People Operations Vice President Eileen Naughton had refuted the claims indirectly by stating their strict intolerance towards sexual offence at the workplace. The company claimed to have fired 48 employees in the past two years over sexual harassment charges. In fact, 13 among the 48 offenders were reportedly holding senior managerial posts in the company.
As published by CNBC, the mail read:
Also Read: Central Govt Forms Group Of Ministers To Address Sexual Harassment At Workplace