The #MeToo movement has greatly raised awareness of sexual harassment and assault – both in and out of the workplace. Many people without firsthand experience of sexual misconduct are surprised at just how prevalent the problem is. Why, in 2019, would this behavior still be so common?
A significant amount of the blame lies with corporate culture. Leadership and management at any company set the tone and the expectations for the rest of the organization. And in the case of Google, the company’s actions send the message that sexual harassment will be rewarded rather than punished.
A recent news article discusses the departure of two high-profile Google employees in recent years. In both cases, the men were facing accusations of sexual misconduct (deemed credible by Google), yet both men were paid huge sums of money upon leaving the company.
Andy Rubin, the creator of Android, left Google with a $90 million severance package in 2014 despite the findings that he had been having an affair with an employee and allegedly coerced her to perform sex acts on him. This information was not disclosed when Rubin left the company and Google’s CEO wished him “all the best.”
More recently, it was revealed that Google search executive Amit Singhal was forced to resign from the company in 2016 because of sexual assault allegations, yet was paid $35 million in a separation agreement.
Last November, tens of thousands of Google employees walked off the job when news outlets broke the story about Rubin. The company has also lost some high-profile engineers, who reportedly quit the company in protest.
Google has long used the unofficial slogan “don’t be evil,” which seems ironic in light of its actions. If one of the largest companies in the U.S. seems to condone and even reward sexual assault and harassment, both victims and harassers alike hear that message loud and clear.
If you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you can’t always rely on company leadership to adequately address the problem. That’s why you may want to discuss your case with an experienced employment law attorney.