Two shareholders of Alphabet Inc., parent company to Google, have filed lawsuits accusing the massive corporation of playing a knowing and direct role in the covering up of sexual misconduct claims against two ex-employees over the last five years.
Both lawsuits have been designed to force Alphabet Inc. to change their governance and oversight so that they can prevent any future workplace conduct issues. The lawsuits also demand that Alphabet Inc. directors pay damages for, allegedly, breaching their trustee duties while taking part in corporate misconduct.
The allegations against Alphabet Inc. are stemming from large severance payments cut to Andy Rubin, the head of Google’s Android mobile operating department until 2014. Large severance payments have also been made to Amit Singhal, the leader of Google’s search unit up until 2016. According to the lawsuits, Alphabet Inc.’s investigations into both Singhal and Rubin have determined that the allegations of sexual harassment made against both men have turned out to be credible.
Both Singhal and Rubin have vehemently denied the allegations, and Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive officer, made an apology to staff last year for their previous handling of past sexual misconduct cases and promised to improve such practices.
One of the two San Mateo County Superior Court lawsuits cites minutes from the Alphabet Inc. board and board committee meetings where the situations of the executives were discussed.
James Martin, a plaintiff of the lawsuit, obtained the documents via a “shareholder inspection demand,” according to the lawsuit. Google provided them, but made conditions that the reports not be made public, according to Martin’s attorneys. The details of the obtained minutes are redacted across a minimum of eight pages in the 82-page lawsuit that was filed on January 10th.
Frank Bottini, Martin’s attorney, has stated that his team wants to show Google suffered hundreds of millions worth of damages; including payouts made to those accused of sexual misconduct, hits to the brand reputation, and Google staff walking off the job in November.
Employee demonstrations followed a New York Times report in October that stated Google gave Rubin a $90 million US departure package, who stated the terms of Rubin’s exit were mischaracterized.
Currently, Google employee organizers say they embraced the lawsuits while they continue to push Alphabet Inc. for further changes, included an employee representative sitting on Alphabet’s board.