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Google purchased Android Inc. in 2005. Co-founder and CEO Andy Rubin was given the position of senior vice president of mobile and digital content at Google as part of the deal. He resigned from the company after almost a decade in 2014. On his exit, Google gave him a bonus of $90 million to be paid out in $2 million per month installments. His last payment is coming up in November. But there is a dark underside to the whole situation.
According to a New York Times exposé published Thursday, an employee had accused Rubin of sexual misconduct in 2013, just before his departure. Anonymous sources say that Google investigated the claim and found it credible. Rubin was then asked to step down with a $90 million golden umbrella instead of being fired.
The Verge notes that once this news broke, CEO Sundar Pichai and Vice President of People Operations Eileen Naughton, quickly issued an email to employees to let them know that the company takes all claims of sexual misconduct seriously. It was able to obtain a copy of the email and publish it.
“We are dead serious about making sure we provide a safe and inclusive workplace,” the message says. “We want to assure you that we review every single complaint about sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct, we investigate, and we take action.”
The internet giant paid Mr. Rubin $90 million and praised him, while keeping silent about a misconduct claim.
The email also mentions that Google has fired 48 employees, including 13 “senior managers or above” over the last two years. The memo does not, however, refute the claims in the New York Times article, which also states that at least two other high-level executives were protected as well.
Rubin’s spokesperson Sam Singer denied that Mr. Rubin was ever informed of any misconduct allegations leveled at him during his time with Google. He also insisted that Ruben left of his own accord and was not asked to resign.
“Any relationship that Mr. Rubin had while at Google was consensual and did not involve any person who reported directly to him,” said Singer.
It is worth noting that the employee who brought forth the allegations had been in an extramarital relationship with Rubin according to the sources. She claimed that he forced her to perform oral sex in a hotel room In 2013. It is unclear whether the incident occurred before or after the two’s love affair ended.
This leads one to wonder if it was a case of a jilted lover seeking revenge. However, since Google's internal investigation concluded the allegations were credible, it is probably safe to assume that this was not the case.
While the company's email does not adequately address the past, Pichai and Naughton stress that changes have been made within the firm to ensure that all employees will be safe and taken seriously in such matters.
“We are committed to ensuring that Google is a workplace where you can feel safe to do your best work, and where there are serious consequences for anyone who behaves inappropriately,” the email concludes.