On Thursday, a lawsuit has been filed against the board of Google parent Alphabet Inc by a shareholder. The shareholder in his lawsuit claimed that in 2014 and 2016, to sexual misconduct claims against two top executives, Alphabet’s board remained directly involved in covering them up.
Alphabet, to a request for comments by Reuters, did not immediately respond.
James Martin, the shareholder, filed the lawsuit in San Mateo County Superior Court in California on the basis of minutes from Alphabet board and board committee meetings. The shareholder in his lawsuit requested to enforce Google to improve its governance and oversight in order to prevent such incident of sexual harassment and discrimination in future to be happened. For the company’s proposals, like ending non-disclosure agreements, forcing directors to pay punitive as well as other damages to the company and mandatory arbitration exercised to keep the public unaware of the suspected misconduct; a voting right of shareholders was also sought in the lawsuit.
Attorneys for Martin, through the lawsuit, intended to unveil that Google faced damages just because of the board’s actions. And for those damages that resulted from payments to executives who were accused of sexual misconduct, brand reputational losses and productivity losses caused due to across the globe protest of employees against the payouts, Google paid hundreds of millions of dollars.
Last year, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, has apologized to the employees for the ways Google handled incidents of sexual misconduct in the past and promised to better the current practices.
In October New York Times reported that in 2014 Google had paid an exit package of $90 million to Andy Rubin, senior vice president at that time, after he was accused of sexual harassment. In his comments upon the report, Rubin said that report incorrectly described the reasons of his leaving, whereas current lawsuit by Martin said that Alphabet after knowing that charges against the Rubin are true, had played a direct role by deciding the exit of Rubin and finalized the terms of exit by itself.