Google board tried to cover up sexual misconduct, shareholders allege

Google's being sued for paying millions of dollars to former execs accused of sexual harassment

Google Sued Over Payouts to Ex-Execs Accused of Sexual Harassment

Shareholders are seeking new directors for the Alphabet board, as well as an end to forced arbitrations.

The board members named in the lawsuit include Pichai, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and Alphabet's former executive board chairman Eric Schmidt.

The suit says the board found the harassment allegations to be credible, but allowed Rubin to resign quietly with the $90 million severance package to "ensure his silence" and avoid a wrongful termination lawsuit that would have resulted in negative publicity about alleged harassment within the company.

The report also said that Google allowed Amit Singhal, a former vice president, to step down from his position, after claims of harassment were filed against him, paying him millions of dollars upon his resignation. 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.

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"We are saying to the board of directors that it's time they stand up and do what Google says - "do the right thing", said Lousie Renne, one of the lawyers that filed the suit during a press conference. He also revealed (in the lawsuit) that Google provided them on the condition that they will not be published anywhere.

Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google, has approved significant severance packages for the Google executives that were allegedly involved in the sexual harassment, in an attempt to bury the case.

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 suit also proposes several actions to better tackle sexual harassment and discrimination cases.

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Mr Singhal didn't respond to a request for comment.

Shortly after the allegations surfaced, 20,000 Google employees across the world staged a walkout as a mark of protest against the company's toxic work culture and its inaction against claims of harassment and abuse. "Andy left Google voluntarily".

Mr Pichai's statement to staff last October said: "Over the past two years, we have terminated 48 people, including 13 senior managers and above for sexual harassment".

The lawsuit doesn't seem to be about damages, as such, but more about changing the way Google behaves in future.

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

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