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Google CEO admits firing 48 employees for sexual misconduct

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Shalini Chakraborty
Shalini Chakraborty
A literature enthusiast. Self-proclaimed feminist and loves to read on and about feminism. Avid thinker and writer of obscure feelings. Interested in photography and loves spending time on social media.

In response to a New York Times story published earlier yesterday, Google CEO, Sundar Pichai sent an email to Google employees revealing how the company had fired 48 employees for sexual misdemeanors.

The report alleged that Google had protected many of its big shot employees, including its Android executive, Andy Rubin in 2014 after repeated allegations of sexual harassment against him.

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It also raised the issue that the company had paid Rubin as much as $90 million as a payout while letting him go under pressure. Pichai and Eileen (head of the Human Rights dept in Google), yesterday in a companywide memo, confessed that the reports were disturbing to read.

Today’s story in the New York Times was difficult to read.

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.

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: 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.

In 2015, we launched Respect@ and our annual Internal Investigations Report to provide transparency about these types of investigations at Google. Because we know that reporting harassment can be traumatic, we provide confidential channels to share any inappropriate behavior you experience or see. We support and respect those who have spoken out. You can find many ways to do this at go/saysomething. You can make a report anonymously if you wish.

We’ve also updated our policy to require all VPs and SVPs to disclose any relationship with a co-worker regardless of reporting line or presence of conflict.

We are committed to ensuring that Google is a workplace where you can feel safe to do your best work, and where there are serious consequences for anyone who behaves inappropriately. – Sundar Pichai in an email

In an effort to fight back against the report, the memo delineated that Google has dismissed a total of 48 employees on account of charges of sexual harassment in a span of two years, 13 of them being of senior managerial ranks and above. The memo also mentions that these employees were let go without any exit package, a retort against the claims of massive payback amounts for letting go of Rubin and other senior employees.

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To regain the trust of company’s employees as far as complaints regarding harassment acts are concerned, the email professes that Google has newer tools for reporting such crimes. Most importantly, the victim can stay anonymous while reporting a misconduct, if they wish to. The email also promises that all the complaints are taken seriously and investigations are done against every reported employee. Pichai mentions the Respect@ and their annual Internal Investigation Report to assure of the transparency in these aspects.

In the wake of the #Metoo movement, finally, some light’s been thrown to the sexual vulnerability of people in workplaces. With media being on their toes to report a slight wrongdoing in any of the big corporate houses, every big multinational company is forced to be on their guard to ensure employee safety and impartial action against perpetrators of sexual violence.

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