Google reveals 48 employees fired for sexual harassment

Google reveals 48 employees fired for sexual harassment

Google announced that it has

fired

48

employees

for

sexual

harassment during the past two years and sent them away without severance packages, hours after a news report said that it had protected some male executives facing

sexual misconduct allegations and offered them large sums to leave the company.

The surprise disclosure came in an email to
Google
employees from CEO Sundar Pichai. It was a direct response to a New York Times report that the company had dismissed the executive in charge of its Android software
for
sexual misconduct in 2014 and paid him handsomely to leave.

A spokesman
for Andy Rubin, the former Android executive, said he left on his own accord and has never been informed of any accusations of
sexual misconduct. Rubin acknowledges having consensual
sexual relationships with
Google
employees that didn’t report to him, adhering to the boundaries drawn by
Google policy at that time, according to the spokesman, Sam Singer.

The Times story was based on unidentified people and court documents, including some filed in an ongoing divorce between Rubin and his wife. The Times reported that
Google also protected two other executives accused of
sexual misconduct, ousting one with a severance package while retaining another.

In his email, Pichai said
Google adopted tougher policies in 2015. Those rules require all of
Google‘s Vice Presidents and senior Vice Presidents to disclose any relationship with an employee, even if they don’t work in the same department or have any other potential conflict.

Although Pichai didn’t directly address the allegations against Rubin and other executives, he conceded the Times story “was difficult to read” and did not dispute it.

In an apparent attempt to assure
employees that things had changed since Rubin’s departure, Pichai said 13 of the
48 workers that
Google had
fired
for violating the company’s
sexual
harassment policies were either senior managers or executives. None of those 13 received severance packages, Pichai wrote.

“We are dead serious about making sure we provide a safe and inclusive workplace” Pichai wrote.

Despite Pichai’s reassurances, the revelations about
sexual
harassment are a setback
for a 20-year-old company that adopted “Don’t Be Evil” as its motto early in its existence and now embraces “do the right thing” as its creed under the umbrella of its holding company, Alphabet Inc.

The bombshells are also another troubling example of a Silicon Valley culture that
for decades has relied heavily on male engineers, some of whom still behave like fraternity boys attending a keg party in college.

The phenomenon led to this year’s release of “Brotopia: Breaking Up The Boys Club of Silicon Valley” a book by Emily Chang that delves into the stories of women who say they have been sexually harassed at tech companies and venture capital firms.

Allegations of
sexual misconduct also have resulted in the resignations of venture capitalists and executives and triggered an ongoing overhaul at ride-hailing company, Uber.

Prodded by the public complaints of a former female engineer, Uber last year conducted an internal investigation that it had fostered an environment that allowed rampant
sexual
harassment .

The problems unfolded under Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick, who wound up being forced to resign by investors as CEO amid a raft of other problems. At one point, Uber hired former
Google engineer Amit Singhal and then asked him to resign last year after discovering he hadn’t disclosed he had been accused of
sexual misconduct at
Google.