Business Essentials for Professionals


Lawsuit Against Board Of Alphabet Over Alleged Sexual Misconduct Cover-Up

Lawsuit Against Board Of Alphabet Over Alleged Sexual Misconduct Cover-Up
The board of Google parent Alphabet Inc has been slapped with two law suits by shareholders accusing the company of being directly involved in attempts of covering up of sexual misconduct claims that were pressed against two former executives in within the last five years.
There have been no comments from the company.
The aim of the lawsuits to bring in changes in Google in the process of corporate governance and oversight so that all issues related to workplace conduct in the future can be prevented. The lawsuits also seek to urge the directors of Alphabet to pay damages to Alphabet for allegedly failing to comply with their fiduciary duties and engaging in corporate waste.
The allegations in the law suits have been based on the company making large severance payments to Andy Rubin, who headed the Android mobile operating division of Google until 2014, and Amit Singhal who was the head of Google’s search unit until 2016.  The lawsuits further claim that the accusations against both the former employees of sexual harassment against them were found to be credible in internal investigations conducted by the company.
All allegations have been denied by both Rubin and Singhal. Last year, a apology was to its employees was tendered by Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai where in the top executive said conceded that the company had not been able to properly handle the previous allegations of sexual misconduct and pledged to enhance the prevalent practices of handling such allegations.
Minutes from Alphabet board and board committee meetings where discussions about the situations of the executives were held was cited in one of the two lawsuits in San Mateo County Superior Court in California.
According to the lawsuit, the documents were obtained through a “shareholder inspection demand” by the plaintiff James Martin. According to his attorneys, the condition that Google laid for providing the documents was that they should not be published. The 82-page lawsuit that was filed on Thursday contained at 8 pages comprising of the details from the minutes.
Google had to incur costs worth hundreds of millions of dollars in damages which also included certain payouts that were made to executives who had been accused of sexual misconduct, and this is being planned to be shown by the team of lawyers, said Frank Bottini, Martin’s attorney. The team also plans to exhibit how Google lost out on employee productivity because employees around the world leaving jobs briefly in November as a mark of protest to against the payouts and how that incident dented the brand reputation of the company.
The demonstrations by the Google employees came after a report published in the New York Times in October where it was alleged that a $90 million exit package to Rubin was given by Google in 2014.
Ellen Winick Stross, an attorney for Rubin, said on Thursday that Martin’s lawsuit, “like much of the recent media coverage, mischaracterizes Andy’s departure from Google and sensationalizes claims made about Andy by his ex-wife. Andy left Google voluntarily. Andy denies any misconduct, and we look forward to telling his story in court.”

Christopher J. Mitchell

Markets | Companies | M&A | Innovation | People | Management | Lifestyle | World | Misc