Google parent Alphabet’s board sued on allegations of sexual misconduct cover-up

Google shareholder sues board alleging cover-up of sexual misconduct claims

Google employees around the world walked out on Nov. 1 in protest of the company's handling of sexual misconduct

Alphabet's board of directors was suedtwice in California state court on Thursday by different investors making largely the same claim: that the company breached its fiduciary duty when it allowed alleged rampant sexual misconduct by top male executives to persist.

"If you were a high‐level male executive at Google responsible for generating millions of dollars in revenue, Google would let you engage in sexual harassment". It was not clear at that time exactly how much the board of directors knew about the allegations or Google's decision to make the payment to Rubin.

The lawsuit filed by the shareholder accuses Alphabet's board of approving hefty severance packages for the accused.

The legal action is believed to have been prompted by the way that Google handled misconduct claims made against former Android boss Andy Rubin and former search head Amit Singhal.

During his time at Google, Rubin was allegedly involved in human sex trafficking and is said to have offered hundreds of thousands of dollars to women employees in the company for, in his own words, "owning" them. Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai apologized a year ago to employees for the companies' past handling of sexual misconduct cases and vowed to improve practices.

The employee demonstrations followed a New York Times report in October that said Google in 2014 gave a $90 million U.S. exit package to Rubin, who said the terms of his departure were mischaracterized.

The lawsuit names 12 present and former directors of Alphabet, including Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and CEO Sundar Pichai among others, for giving Rubin a "hero's farewell".

Two lawsuits, including one from shareholder James Martin and another from the Northern California Pipe Trades Pension Plan and Teamsters Local 272 Labor Management Pension Fund, were filed on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

The board's audit and compensation committees, comprising nine members, along with Page, Brin and Schmidt, reviewed the findings of an investigation into allegations against Rubin in 2014.

Singhal didn't respond to a request for comment.

In particular, the lawsuits called out the way that Andy Rubin, the celebrated creator of Android, was ushered out of the company in 2014. "Andy left Google voluntarily".

Representatives of Google and John Doerr declined to comment.

"We'd like to see. meaningful change in the tone at the company, the policies, the treatment of women, the reporting of sexual harassment and other issues", Bottini said.

The Martin lawsuit was filed Louise Renne, a one-time San Francisco City Attorney and former member of the city and county's Board of Supervisors who's now in private practice. Her co-counsel, Ann Ravel, was a commissioner for the Federal Election Commission under the Obama administration.

The complaint is a derivative case filed on behalf of the company against its board of directors, which means any damages recovered by the plaintiff would go back to Google. "What we have asked for are a lot of changes in corporate governance at Google, and that is really the ultimate objective of this litigation".

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