Google sacks 48 employees for sexual harassment

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said on Thursday the company had fired 48 employees for sexual harassment over the past two years, Reuters reported.
Sundar Pichai GoogleSundar Pichai sent an email to Google employees in response to a New York Times story that was published earlier in the day.

The report said the search engine giant protected three senior executives from allegations of sexual misconduct by offering them payouts.

The email said of the 48 that were fired, 13 were senior managers or held more senior posts.

However, Sundar Pichai said none of those employees received an exit package.

The email, which was also signed by Google’s vice president of people operations Eileen Naughton, said that company employees could use internal tools to report cases of inappropriate behavior anonymously.

It also said that Google has updated its policy to require all vice presidents and senior vice presidents to disclose any relationship with a co-worker regardless of reporting line or presence of conflict.

“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 said.

The number of Google employees increased to 94,372 in September 2018 from 78,101 in September 2017.

The New York Times report said Android creator Andy Rubin, received an exit package worth $90 million as he faced allegations of misconduct. The report said that Google had covered up other claims of sexual harassment.

Sundar Pichai said that the report on Andy Rubin and others was “difficult to read” but he did not directly address the claims in the article.

Sam Singer, a spokesman for Rubin, rejected the allegations against him in a statement to AFP, saying Andy Rubin left Google of his own accord to launch venture capital firm and technology incubator Playground.

The Android operating system, which Google makes available to device makers free of charge, powers about 85 percent of the world’s smartphones.

The New York Times report cited court documents and interviews while reporting that Andy Rubin was one of three senior executives that Google has shielded in the past decade after complaints of inappropriate sexual behavior.

The Times cited two unnamed Google executives as saying that then-chief executive Larry Page asked for Rubin’s resignation after the company confirmed a complaint by a woman about a sexual encounter in a hotel in 2013.