On Thursday, Google said it was adopting “an increasingly hard line” on misbehavior and misconduct and that 48 Googlers, including 13 senior executives were terminated over the last two years due to allegations of sexual harassment.
A New York Times report stated that Android creator, Andy Rubin, a senior employee with the tech giant, received an exit package worth US$90 million while faced with harassment allegations, and that Google had covered that up along with other claims of misbehavior. In response to questions by AFP, Google released an email rolled out internally from Chief executive, Sundar Pichai stating that 48 employees had been dismissed for sexual harassment in the past two years, including 13 who were senior managers and above and that none received "an exit package."
"In recent years, we've made a number of changes, including taking an increasingly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority," said Pichai and added that report on the Rubin case was “difficult to read”.
While a Google investigation found the woman’s allegation against Rubin convincing, Sam Singer, spokesman for Rubin, overruled the allegations in a statement to AFP, saying that Rubin resigned from Google of his own accord to launch Playground, a venture capital firm and technology incubator.
Pichai also stated, “We are dead serious about making sure we provide a safe and inclusive workplace. We want to assure you that we review every single complaint about sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct, we investigate and we take action."
The New York Times report cited court documents and interviews and stated that Rubin was among the three senior executives who were shielded by Google over that past decade despite misconduct allegations against them. Moreover, the report also paid heed to the accounts of two unnamed Googlers who said that Rubin had been asked to resign in 2013 by the then-chief executive Larry Page on account of allegations of sexual harassment.
With global leaders like Google, known to be the proponents of an engaging and interesting workplace culture, such cans of worms bring to focus the challenges of creating and upholding a truly safe and inclusive culture where every employee feels protected. Would this lead to more global leaders, admitting to similar issues at work? Would it lead to a revamp of POSH policies to make sure they are air-tight?