Google on Thursday announced that it has fired 48 employees for sexual harassment during the past two years and has not provided the employees severance packages, AP reported. In a letter to employees, Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai said the company was taking a “hard line” on inappropriate conduct.
Pichai’s letter was in response to a report published in The New York Times on Thursday claiming that Android creator Andy Rubin received a $90 million (Rs 660.19 crore at current exchange rate) exit package in 2014 despite facing misconduct allegations. The report was based on unidentified people and court documents, including some filed in an ongoing divorce between Rubin and his wife. It also alleged that Google protected two other unnamed executives accused of sexual misconduct, removing one with a severance package while retaining another.
Pichai said the tech company adopted tougher policies in 2015 requiring all vice presidents and senior vice presidents in the company to disclose any relationship with an employee, even if they don’t work in the same department or have any other potential conflict.
Pichai did not address the allegations against Rubin, but said it was “difficult to read”. Pichai said 13 of the 48 employees fired were senior managers or executives. “We are dead serious about making sure we provide a safe and inclusive workplace,” Pichai said in the letter.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Andy Rubin said Rubin left on his own accord and has never been informed of any accusations of sexual misconduct. Spokesperson Sam Singer said Rubin acknowledged having consensual sexual relationships with Google employees that didn’t report to him, adhering to the boundaries drawn by Google policy at that time, reported AP.