Google shareholders file lawsuit over payouts to execs accused of sexual misconduct

Irving Hamilton
January 13, 2019

In a bid to hide sexual harassment allegations against former Google executives, Alphabet's board of directors has approved hefty severance packages for the accused, according a lawsuit filed by a shareholder of the company.

In another chapter of the tumultuous goings-on within Google, one of Alphabet's shareholders is suing the company, on behalf of itself, over the payouts given to Google executives who were accused of sexual misconduct. The suit named 12 current and former directors of Alphabet, including co-founder Larry Page and Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai.

Commenting on Martin's lawsuit, some of the staff involved in organizing the October walkout released a statement Thursday, slamming the Google board for not having the employees' "best interests at heart".

Both of the lawsuits seek to force Google to change its governance and oversight to stop future workplace conduct issues.

Martin, via his lawsuit, wants to prove that Google lost hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, including the fat severance packages that were handed out to Rubin and Singhal, lost productivity from its employees around the world when the made a decision to stage a walk out protest to show their dissent towards the company's handling of sexual harassment cases in November past year and the damage to the company's reputation. "In this way, Alphabet and the Board were able to maintain optics and superficial compliance with its code of conduct, internal rules, and laws regarding sexual harassment".

In November, Google employees around the world staged a coordinated walkout to protest the company's handling of the sexual harassment allegations.

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Both Singhal and Rubin have denied the accusations.

CNBC reported that the lawsuit also accused Alphabet of paying off high-level employees accused of sexual misconduct, while firing low-level employees for cause with no severance.

The lawsuit accuses the board and executives of breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, abuse of power and corporate waste.

"Google and the board of directors have direct personal liability for covering up the wrongdoing and allowing it to continue for years, thereby significantly harming women employees at Google", Bottini said.

"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".

A similar lawsuit was filed Wednesday by Northern California Pipe Trades Pension Plan and Teamsters Local 272 Labor Management Pension Fund.

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