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Google Fires 48 Employees in Two Years Over Sexual Harassment

Hours after a New York Times report revealed that Google had protected some male executives facing sexual misconduct allegations and offered them large sums to leave the company, the company has announced that it has fired 48 employees for sexual harassment during the past two years and sent them away without severance packages. This announcement was made recently in an email to Google employees from CEO SundarPichai.

The NYTimes report had revealed that the management at Google had been made aware of the fact that a female employee, who had been having an extramarital relationship with the creator of Android, Mr. Andy Rubin had accused the male executive of pressurizing her into performing oral sex in a hotel room in 2013. Company executives who preferred to remain anonymous due to confidentiality agreements signed confirmed to NYTimes that Googlehadat the time of these allegations, investigated and concluded the woman’s claim was credible. Mr. Rubin was notified, they said, and Mr. Page asked for his resignation.

However, Google decided not to publicize the fact that an employee had accused Mr. Rubin of sexual misconduct. Instead, they had given him a $90 million exit package, paid in instalments of about $2 million a month for four years and what the report describes as a “hero’s farewell”.

“I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next,” Larry Page, Google’s chief executive then, had said in a public statement as Rubin was leaving. "With Android, he created something truly remarkable — with a billion-plus happy users."

Google employees, along with the general public are outraged by this report, as is to be expected. One LinkedIn user, Rand Fishkin says “Google has some truly dark skeletons in its closet. This NYT report lays out some of the more high-profile ones. Just awful that women (that anyone!) have to deal with this crap. Rewarding sexual harassment, misconduct, and coercion with hundreds of millions of dollars is disgusting. I don't know how the company's leadership can claim a moral high ground anymore. #google #sexualharassment #metoo”

A Google engineer and workplace activist Liz Fong-Jones, cited in the report has also strongly condemned this incident “When Google covers up harassment and passes the trash, it contributes to an environment where people don’t feel safe reporting misconduct,” she said, “They suspect that nothing will happen or, worse, that the men will be paid and the women will be pushed aside.”

Mr. Rubin has since replied to these allegations through a spokesperson, who argued that Mr. Rubin had left the company of his own accord and that he had not been made aware of any cases of sexual misconduct. “The New York Times story contains numerous inaccuracies about my employment at Google and wild exaggerations about my compensation,” Mr. Rubin said in the statement, “Specifically, I never coerced a woman to have sex in a hotel room. These false allegations are part of a smear campaign by my ex-wife to disparage me during a divorce and custody battle.”