Google has sacked 48 people including 13 senior managers over sexual harassment claims since 2016, the firm has revealed. The disclosure was prompted by a New York Times report that Android creator Andy Rubin had received a $90m (£70.2m) exit package despite facing misconduct allegations at the time.
A spokesperson for Mr Rubin denied the allegations, saying they were part of a smear campaign by his ex-wife. According to the New York Times, Rubin was given a “hero’s farewell” when he left the firm in October 2014, despite an investigation into his sexual misconduct concluding that the accusations were credible. Rather than firing Rubin, he was asked for his resignation, and provided with $2m a month for four years as part of an exit package, with the last payment scheduled for next month.
Following the report, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai issued a letter to employees saying that the firm was “dead serious about making sure we provide a safe and inclusive workplace” and was “taking an increasingly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority; in the last two years, 48 people have been terminated for sexual harassment, including 13 who were senior managers and above. None of these individuals received an exit package.”
After his departure, Rubin went on to create the Essential phone as part of his Playground Global incubator. Despite raising more than $300m in funding from investors including Amazon and Tencent, the phone was a failure. Rubin took a leave of absence from the project in November 2017 when details of his workplace misconduct at Google first emerged, and the firm went up for sale in May 2018, with 30 per cent of its workforce laid off earlier this month.