Reports surfaced last fall that Google provided multimillion dollar exit packages to two of its executives who were accused of sexual harassment by Google employees after the company found the allegations to be credible. Yes, you understood that correctly. One Google executive was paid $90 million and another was paid $15 million as part of their departures from Google because they were accused of sexual harassment and Google believed their accusers. Recently, reports of the payouts were confirmed by Google leading to a wave of outrage and protests.
Thousand Oaks sexual harassment attorneys were also outraged by these reports as the effect of Google’s actions has kept the victims quiet while providing millions of dollars to executives for their alleged sexual misconduct.
In November, when reports of the executive payouts initially surfaced, employees staged a walkout in protest of Google’s policies. After the walkout, Google waived its policy of mandatory arbitration for employees who make sexual harassment and assault claims. This allows employees to take action in court where their claims may become public rather than having to go through a forced arbitration with Google.
This month, Google expanded the arbitration waiver to those accusing the company of wrongful termination and discrimination as well. The arbitration waiver only applies to Google employees, however, and does not apply to contract and temporary workers or vendors who reportedly make up over half of Google’s workforce and are still subject to arbitration requirements.
One controversial payout involved Google’s Vice President of Search Operations who was accused of sexually harassing a subordinate and was offered a $45 million payout with a stipulation that he would only receive $15 million if he subsequently went to work for a competitor. He did eventually go to work for a competitor and only received the $15 million in accordance with the terms of the agreement. The other payout involved the former head of Android who negotiated a $90 million exit package after a Google employee accused him of sexual misconduct.
The outcome of these two cases is truly astounding. As mentioned above, effectively, the alleged victims of sexual harassment have had to stay quiet in accordance with arbitration terms and Google sent two executives to an early retirement with millions of dollars because of their alleged illegal conduct. No wonder its employees staged a walk out in the fall and they are now starting a new protest with #GooglePayoutsForAll. The hashtag will be used to describe ways in which the $105 million could have been otherwise spent.
Google’s past practices have kept victims silenced and while they have made some changes, those changes only go so far and only protect half of its workforce that are classified as employees. Sexual misconduct in the workplace is illegal and victims deserve to be head. If you have been the victim of sexual misconduct or any other type of wrongful conduct in the workplace, contact a Thousand Oaks sexual harassment attorney at the Kaufman Law Firm to schedule a consultation.