Last week Friday was International Women’s Day, and while many companies tried to show how they are doing more for female employees, harassment still remains a significant problem in the workplace, and in Silicon Valley in particular.
The tech firm doesn’t seem to be doing itself any favours either, with it recently confirming a report from CNBC that it agreed to pay two executives $135 million, after they were accused of sexual harassment.
Google also confirmed to The Verge the finer details of both of the executives’ deals, after a newly unsealed lawsuit was discovered. To that end, following negotiations, the initial total of $135 million went down to $105 million.
The first exec was senior search VP Amit Singhal, who was initially offered $45 million by Google, and was later given $15 million as he joined a rival tech company in Uber. This also begs the question as to why Uber would hire an exec accused of sexual harassment, when it too has had to deal with gender-based issues in the workplace.
As for the other exec, it’s Google’s former head of Android, Andy Rubin. According to the lawsuit, Rubin was offered $150 million worth of stock at first, but later used that to negotiate for a $90 million pay off instead. It’s unclear how much, or indeed if any of that money was used for Rubin’s latest smartphone venture – Essential.
“When Google covers up harassment and passes the trash, it contributes to an environment where people don’t feel safe reporting misconduct. They suspect that nothing will happen, or, worse, that the men will be paid and the women will be pushed aside,” said an anonymous Google employee in the aforementioned lawsuit.
It’s sentiment like that which resulted in mass walkouts at Google offices across the globe late last year.
With these pay-offs now done and dusted, it should be interesting to see if Google has indeed learned from its past mistakes, and taken a stricter view of harassment in the workplace.
Long touted as one of the best companies to work for, these recent instances show that Google is quite far from that.