Google tried to cover up sexual misconduct, alleges shareholder

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A Google shareholder sued the board of directors and senior management of its parent company Alphabet Inc on Thursday, alleging that they approved vast severance packages to cover up an environment of sexual misconduct, The New York Times reported.

Both lawsuits name the full board of Alphabet, which includes its co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, John Doerr, a venture capitalist, and Ram Shriram, one of its investors.

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 lawsuit filed in San Mateo County Superior Court also cites the minutes from Alphabet board and board committee meetings where the executives' situations were discussed and concluded. It seeks damages as well as improvements in Google's corporate governance policies.

"Rubin was allowed to quietly resign by the defendants after an internal investigation found the allegations of sexual harassment by Rubin to be credible", read the complaint.

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The shareholder, James Martin, alleges that certain officers and directors at Alphabet have actively participated in a multi-year scheme to cover up sexual harassment and discrimination at the firm.

Mr Singhal was sacked from Uber Technologies in 2017 for failing to disclose the allegations he faced at the Mountain View, California-based company, where he was the longtime head of the powerful search division.

A lawsuit filed this week in California sees an Alphabet shareholder suing Alphabet.

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.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai issued a letter to staff at the time Rubin's payout was made public, claiming the company fired 48 employees in the past two years for sexual misconduct. "People who are not at the top are going to receive retribution, and everyone else gets a free pass".

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Rubin's lawyer Ellen Winick Stross said the lawsuit does not accurately describe Rubin's departure from Google.

Google is yet to respond to the complaint.

"There has been substantial evidence of sexual harassment at Google, and yet there hasn't been the appropriate follow-through", said Renne.

Frank Bottini, an attorney representing one shareholder, said the lawsuit wanted to prompt action at the highest level in Alphabet.

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