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Shareholders Sue Google's Parent Company for Alleged Sexual Misconduct Cover-Up

13 January 2019
Shareholders Sue Google's Parent Company for Alleged Sexual Misconduct Cover-Up

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.".

The allegations in the suit chiefly concern the board's handling of Andy Rubin, the creator of the Android software platform who left Google in 2014. The complaint was targeted at the company's top executives and committee members, including co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, venture capitalist John Doerr, investor Ram Shriram and Alphabet chief legal officer David Drummond, among others. Reuters reported that the filings also claim that the internal investigations found that the sexual allegations are credible. It is stated that while working at Google, Rubin was paying money to women that they "belonged to him". "None of these people got a severance package", the letter said Google.

Mr Singhal was sacked from Uber Technologies in 2017 for failing to disclose the allegations he faced at the Mountain View, California-based company, where he was the longtime head of the powerful search division.

Minutes from board meetings obtained by attorneys for the shareholder reveal the personal involvement of Alphabet directors in behavior that has harmed the company, the plaintiff's attorneys Ann Ravel, Louise Renne and Frank Bottini said at a press conference. The New York Times reported that back in 2014, Rubin received approximately $90 million when he was sacked over accusations of sexual harassment.

While both Rubin and Singhal have denied the allegations, Pichai penned a letter to Google employees ensuring them that the company was committed at becoming a workplace where employees felt safe.

The lawsuit comes during a period of prominent figures in industries ranging from politics to entertainment being toppled by revelations of sexual harassment or sexual assault. Google never disclosed the reason for his departure, though he was also paid millions in severance, according to the complaint filed on behalf of Alphabet shareholder James Martin.

Google workers around the world walked out November 1 to protest how the company has handled sexual harassment claims - a day after Alphabet executive Rich DeVaul resigned amid similar accusations. It seeks damages as well as improvements in Google's corporate governance policies.

Employee organizers said they welcomed the lawsuits as they continue to push for further changes, including an employee representative on Alphabet's board.