On Thursday morning, the New York Times published a shocking story about Google’s payout to Andy Rubin, Android’s creator, after reports emerged that he had engaged in sexual misconduct.
Andy Rubin had been given a cordial farewell when he left the tech firm back in October 2014. Larry Page, Google’s chief executive at the time, said in a public statement: “I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next. With Android, he created something truly remarkable-with a billion-plus happy users.”
However, Google failed to disclose that an employee has accused Mr. Rubin of sexual misconduct. Mr. Rubin had been having an affair with the accuser, and had reportedly compelled her into performing oral sex in his hotel room in 2013. Her accounts were confirmed by two company executives who had knowledge of the incident.
Google investigated the matter and concluded that her claim was credible, citing numerous testimonies from the people who spoke under confidentiality. Mr. Rubin was quickly notified of the allegations, and was asked for his resignation.
While Google had sufficient grounds to fire Mr. Rubin and pay him little compensation due to the circumstances, the company decided to provide him with a USD$90 million exit package and paid him an annual rate of USD$2 million for around four years. The final payment is scheduled for next month.
Rubin’s case is not an outlier. He is one of three executives that Google has protected over the past decade after they were accused of sexual misconduct. Although it ousted two of its executives, the company still paid them millions of dollars after their departure despite being under no legal obligation to do so. In a third case, the executive remained with the tech firm at a high-paid position. Every time, Google has refrained from publicly commenting on the accusations against these men.
This information was released through the New York Times, who conducted a full-blown investigation into the matter. They accessed corporate and court documents and interviewed current and former Google executives, including some who handled Google’s response directly. However, most chose to remain anonymous because they were bound by confidentiality agreements.
Following the report’s release yesterday morning, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and VP People Operations Eileen Naughton co-signed a memo which explained that it is “increasingly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority.”
The note claims that 48 people have had their employments terminated with the company over sexual harassment in the past two years. This list includes 13 persons in senior management positions or higher.
The letter maintains that “none of these individuals received an exit package”, which is a clear reference to the New York Times op-ed on the USD$90 million paid to Rubin. The memo was clear to emphasize that they are taking a hard stance on the issue of sexual misconduct in the workplace.
“We are committed to ensuring that Google is a workplace where you can feel safe to do your best work, and where there are serious consequences for anyone who behaves inappropriately.”