In an email to all Google employees following today’s New York Times expose on Andy Rubin, CEO Sundar Pichai and Eileen Naughton the company’s VP of people operations said the story was “difficult to read.” “We are dead serious about making sure we provide a safe and inclusive workplace,” the pair wrote in a co-signed note. The email does not attempt to refute or discredit anything in The New York Times story, which said that in addition to Rubin, Google also protected two other men accused of sexual misconduct on their way out the door with generous exit packages.
“We want to assure you that we review every single complaint about sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct, we investigate, and we take action.” According to Pichai, 48 employees have been fired over the last two years without any kind of exit package / severance payment; 13 of them were “senior managers or above.” He also lists off steps Google has taken in the months and years after Rubin’s departure and $90 million windfall that are meant to provide transparency and confidentiality.
But the fact remains that, according to the Times, Google had the option to fire Rubin in 2014 following an investigation that found sexual misconduct allegations against him to be “credible.” Doing so would’ve required little to no severance. But the company opted not to. Instead, Rubin received a $90 million exit package; the company will pay him one final $2 million installment from that agreement sometime next month. Larry Page shared kind words about Rubin’s work and influence at Google in announcing his leaving. And even after Rubin was gone, Google backed Rubin’s Playground Ventures VC and delayed the payback of a $14 million personal loan it had extended to him.
Google’s currently leadership can’t undo those wrongs, but Pichai and Naughton are trying to underline the point that Google has instituted change. “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.
The full company email from Pichai and Naughton follows below:
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 and Eileen