In 2014, Andy Rubin – the “father of Android” left technology giant, Google. Rubin was sent off on seemingly good terms. Larry Page, Chief Executive at the time, made a 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.”
Image Credit: The Verge
Covering Up The Claims
That may seem like a positive sendoff. However, the situation wasn’t as good as it looks. According to the New York Times, Rubin was paid to leave his position after an employee accused him of sexual misconduct.
The woman accused Rubin of pressuring her into giving him oral sex at a hotel in 2013. This information was reported by two Google execs who know about what happened. These people spoke on the terms that they would remain nameless. Page shortly asked Rubin to resign.
While the company could have simply fired Rubin with severance, they instead chose to pay him a $90 million exit package. This money was to be paid out to Rubin over four years at $2 million a month, according to two people aware of the circumstances. The final payment should happen next month.
Unfortunately, Rubin is one of three executives Google had covered up over the past ten years. Each of the three had been accused of sexual misconduct. Two employees had been fired but were given millions in severance. The final executive was allowed to remain in his position. Google kept quiet on the accusations of all three.
In gaining this information, the New York Times gained access to multiple “corporate and court documents” while also speaking to “more than three dozen current and former Google executives and employees about the episodes, including some people directly involved in handling them.” Nearly every employee asked to stay anonymous.
While some issues were not as severe as others, Rubin’s situation is different due to the amount of money in combination with such silence. Also, Google invested millions of dollars into Rubin’s new project outside of the company.
Additionally, Sam Singer, a representative for Rubin, went against these claims in a statement about the New York Times article:
“The New York Times story contains numerous inaccuracies about my employment at Google and wild exaggerations about my compensation. Specifically, I never coerced a woman to have sex in a hotel room. These false allegations are part of a smear campaign by my ex-wife to disparage me during a divorce and custody battle.”
Rubin’s less-than-ideal firing was reported on beforehand, but the details remained unknown until now. In all of these cases, Google chose to protect its own interests and keep these men on their side with money.
Eileen Naughton, Vice President for People Operations at Google, made a statement on the harassment policy at the tech company:
“We investigate and take action, including termination. In recent years, we’ve taken a particularly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority. We’re working hard to keep improving how we handle this type of behavior.”
Also, after the New York Times article went live, Google’s current chief executive, Sundar Pichai, wrote an email to employees alongside Naughton. The message stated that 48 workers had been fired over the past two years over sexual harassment allegations. Supposedly, none of them had received an exit package. However, this isn’t enough for some Google employees.
One Google engineer, Liz Fong-Jones, revealed what she believes Google does:
“When Google covers up harassment and passes the trash, it contributes to an environment where people don’t feel safe reporting misconduct. They suspect that nothing will happen or, worse, that the men will be paid and the women will be pushed aside.”
We can only hope that the publicity of these allegations will cause some change in how Google handles sexual misconduct.