Google has fired 48 people for sexual misconduct
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA – October 26, 2018
Google has sacked 48 people including 13 senior managers over sexual harassment claims since 2016.
In a letter to employees, chief executive Sundar Pichai said the tech giant was taking a “hard line” on inappropriate conduct.
The letter came in response to a New York Times report that Google paid Andy Rubin, the creator of the Android mobile operating system, $90 million after he left the company in 2014 over an allegation of sexual misconduct. Google also invested heavily in Rubin’s next project, according to the report, which also highlights two other cases in which the company seemingly protected employees accused of sexual harassment.
A spokesman for Mr. Rubin denied the allegations, the newspaper said.
Sam Singer said Mr. Rubin decided to leave Google in 2014 to launch a venture capital firm and technology incubator called Playground.
He was given what the paper described as a “hero’s farewell” when he departed.
Mr. Pichai’s letter said the New York Times story was “difficult to read” and that Google was “dead serious”about providing 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,” he continued.
None of the employees dismissed in the past two years had received an exit package, Mr. Pichai added.
According to the New York Times report, two unnamed Google executives said then-chief executive Larry Page asked Mr. Rubin to resign after the company confirmed a complaint by a female employee about a sexual encounter in a hotel room in 2013.
A Google investigation found the woman’s complaint to be credible, the paper reported, but the company has not confirmed this.
Mr. Rubin has said he did not engage in misconduct and left Google of his own accord.
The claims will add to the growing chorus denouncing the sexist culture in male-dominated Silicon Valley. For years, critics have argued that Silicon Valley start-ups are dominated by whites and males, and that the demographic dynamic subtly influences everything from minor office interactions to major product decisions.
According to the survey, bias – unconscious or not – is alive and well in this tech community:
• 47% of women have been asked to do lower-level tasks that male colleagues are not asked to do (e.g., note-taking, ordering food, etc.);
• 66% say they’ve been excluded from social or networking opportunities because of gender;
• 88% have had clients or colleagues address questions to male peers rather than to them;
• 87% have been on the receiving end of demeaning comments from male colleagues;
• 75% say they were asked about marriage and family in interviews
Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Creative Strategies in San Francisco, tweeted: “In a normal world this would mean Rubin is done, but tech has not just been forgiving, some tech sees little wrong with this.
“I’d like to think Google will clean up its act if anything to avoid having a retention problem with their female employees.”
On Thursday, Google reported mixed earnings, missing analysts’ revenue estimates despite beating earnings expectations. Shares in Alphabet, which owns Google, fell more than 3% in New York after it reported revenues of $33.7 billion for the quarter. The lower-than-expected revenue was due to higher costs associated with putting its search engine and other services on third-party platforms such as Apple’s iPhone, the company said.
However, net profits soared $2.5bn to $9.2bn — far higher than expected, and none of the financial analysts on Thursday’s call asked about Rubin or the company’s workplace harassment policies.