The board members of Google-parent company Alphabet are being sued over allegations that the company routinely covered up claims of sexual harassment by executives, including Android creator Andy Rubin who received a $90 million exit package and a “hero’s farewell” following an internal investigation about his behavior.
The lawsuit, filed in California state court on Thursday by an Alphabet shareholder, alleges that the board of directors and top executives, including co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, failed in their responsibility to investors by letting the harassment carry on.
“Alphabet’s Board knew about allegations of sexual harassment by numerous high‐level executives at Google, which the Company found to be ‘credible’ after performing internal investigations and review, and yet failed to disclose the finding that the allegations were credible, and instead allowed the high ‐level executives to resign with lavish pay packages,” the complaint says.
In October, The New York Times published details about the allegation that led to Rubin’s dismissal — including his pressuring a woman with whom he had an extramarital relationship into performing oral sex. The Times report also exposed that Rubin was given a $90 million exit package by the company even after an internal investigation found the woman’s complaint to be credible.
News of how Alphabet handled the allegations led to thousands of employees staging a walkout in protest last November.
“Because of Rubin’s importance to Google’s financial results, he was treated differently than other employees by Google’s Board and senior management,” the suit says. “He was given more deference and was lavished with compensation.”
The lawsuit is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, as well as remedies such as eliminating the dual class stock structure that gives Alphabet founders Page and Brin control of the company. The suit is the first brought against Alphabet’s board, according to Bloomberg, which first reported news of the lawsuit.
Louise Renne, a former San Francisco City Attorney who is representing the plaintiff, did not answer questions about the lawsuit. Alphabet was did not immediately return a request for comment.