Google fired 48 employees, including 13 senior managers, over sexual harassment claims since 2016, CEO Sundar Pichai has revealed, asserting that the tech giant was taking an “increasingly hard line” on “inappropriate conduct” by people in positions of authority.
In a letter to employees, the Indian-American chief executive officer said that Google was “dead serious” about ensuring a safe and inclusive workplace and emphasised that none of the sacked people got an exit package when they were let go.
The letter was in response to a New York Times report that Android creator Andy Rubin received a whopping USD 90 million exit package despite facing misconduct allegations.
“Today’s story in the New York Times was difficult to read,” Pichai and Eileen Naughton, Google’s Vice President of people operations, said in the letter made public on Thursday.
“We want to assure you that we review every single complaint about sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct, we investigate, and we take action,” they said.
In recent years, Google has made a number of changes, including taking an “increasingly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority.”, they said.
In the last two years, 48 people have been terminated for sexual harassment, including 13 who were senior managers and above. “None of these individuals received an exit package,” the letter emphasised.
“Because we know that reporting harassment can be traumatic, we provide confidential channels to share any inappropriate behaviour you experience or see.
“We support and respect those who have spoken out. You can find many ways to do this at go/say something. You can make a report anonymously if you wish,” they said.
They said Google was committed to ensuring that it has a workplace where “you can feel safe to do your best work, and where there are serious consequences for anyone who behaves inappropriately.”
According to the New York Times report, two unnamed Google executives said then-chief executive Larry Page asked 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.
Rubin has said he did not engage in misconduct and left Google of his own accord.
A spokesman for Rubin denied the allegations, the newspaper said.
Sam Singer said 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.