Alphabet’s Board Probes Company’s Handling of Sexual Harassment and Misconduct

Google’s parent Alphabet is investigating how the company has managed sexual harassment and misconduct claims, some of which have targeted its own executives.

The company’s board created an independent subcommittee to oversee the investigation. David Drummond, Alphabet’s chief legal officer, is reportedly among the executives included in the investigation, according to a report by CNBC, for his sexual relationships with fellow employees.

Alphabet responded with a statement, saying: “As has already been confirmed in public court filings, in early 2019, Alphabet’s Board of Directors formed a special litigation committee to consider claims made by shareholders in various lawsuits relating to past workplace conduct.”

Sexual harassment and misconduct has been a source of discord for Google employees, who want the company to do more to protect workers and hold executives accountable. Employees are angry that multiple executives have allegedly engaged in inappropriate behavior and then been protected by the company, and, sometimes, even been paid hefty severance packages after they exited.

Drummond has been accused of having an extramarital affair with a subordinate, which would be a violation of Google’s company policies. The accusation came from former Google employee Jennifer Blakely, who detailed the relationship and alleged mistreatment in a blog post.

Andy Rubin, senior vice president of mobile and digital content who co-founded Android, and former Google search head Amit Singhal, have also previously been accused of inappropriate behavior.  

Last year, 20,000 employees participated in a walkout to protest the company’s handling of the issue. Then earlier this year, shareholders filed two lawsuits accusing Alphabet’s board of covering up claims against Rubin and Singhal, both of whom were paid huge severance packages after accusations against them were deemed credible.

Following the walkout, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent an email to employees vowing to make improvements in how it handles sexual harassment claims and communicates any actions taken to employees. 

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