Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

Alphabet’s board accused of covering up sexual misconduct claims in shareholder lawsuits

Google parent Alphabet's board sued on allegations of sexual misconduct cover-up Google's being sued for paying millions of dollars to former execs accused of sexual harassment
Priscilla Morrison | 13 January, 2019, 05:30

Filed in a local court in California, the 62-page complaint (PDF) alleges that Alphabet breached its fiduciary duty to shareholders, wasted corporate assets, abused its corporate control of Google, and unjustly enriched people whom the suit-flingers claim should not have been - that is, people who quit when accused of sexual misconduct.

However, in a lawsuit filed at San Mateo Superior Court by Alphabet shareholder James Martin, company shareholders are seeking three new independent directors for the Alphabet board and an end to the dual-class voting structure of the stock - a move that would diminish the power of co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

In the fall of The New York Times reported that upon dismissal he was paid $90 million, although one of the employees accused him of sexual harassment.

Google reported that over the past two years fired 48 employees because of allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. "As such, members of Alphabet's board were knowing and direct enablers of the sexual harassment and discrimination".

Alphabet Inc is Google's parent company.

Both Mr Rubin and Mr Singhal have denied the allegations.

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A lawsuit filed this week in California sees an Alphabet shareholder suing Alphabet. Singhal also resigned from the position of Uber's Senior Vice President of Engineering in 2017 after the sexual harassment allegations against him were discovered from his time at Google.The aftermath of these incidents becoming public was a massive world protest staged by its employees aginst the way the sexual misconduct cases were handled.

In the civil complaint, Martin and his lawyers also accused Google of an egregious double-standard, echoing a complaint raised by frustrated workers who led and participated in a massive worldwide walkout late a year ago.

"This lawsuit, like much of the recent media coverage, mischaracterizes Andy's departure from Google and sensationalizes claims made about Andy by his ex-wife", Ellen Winick Stross, a lawyer for Mr Rubin, said in a statement sent late on Thursday. "Andy left Google voluntarily". Due to the handling of the body with sexual harassment in the company and with a data leak.

Employee organizers said they welcomed the lawsuits as they continue to push for further changes, including an employee representative on Alphabet's board.

The complaint is a derivative case filed on behalf of the company against its board of directors, which means any damages recovered by the plaintiff would go back to Google.

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