Amid report that said one senior employee of Google received a hefty exit package as he faced allegations of misconduct, and that Google had covered up other claims of sexual harassment, comes a statement from its chief executive Sundar Pichai on Thursday announcing that it has terminated 13 senior executives for sexual harassment during the past two years and sent them away without "an exit package".
The disclosure was made through an email to Google employees from CEO Sundar Pichai in response to a New York Times report that the company had dismissed the executive, Andy Rubin, in charge of its Android software, for sexual misconduct in 2014 and did not pay him severance package to leave.
Pichai in his email said 13 of the 48 workers were fired for violating the company's sexual harassment policies. "We are dead serious about making sure we provide a safe and inclusive workplace. We want to assure you that we review every single complaint about sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct, we investigate and we take action," he wrote.
However, Rubin's spokesman, Sam Singer, rejected the allegations against him. In a statement to AFP he said that Rubin left Google on his own accord to launch venture capital firm and technology incubator Playground. He has never been informed of any accusations of sexual misconduct.
Though, Rubin acknowledges having consensual sexual relationships with Google employees that didn't report to him, adhering to the boundaries drawn by the company policy at that time, said the spokesman.
Pichai said in his email the company adopted tougher policies in 2015. Those rules require all of vice presidents and senior vice presidents of the US tech giant to reveal any relationship with an employee, even if they don't work in the same department or have any other potential conflict.
"In recent years, we've made a number of changes, including taking an increasingly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority," Pichai said. Despite Pichai's reassurances, the disclosures about sexual harassment are a hindrance for a 20-year-old company.