Google Inc.’s parent company Alphabet Inc. approved a payout of up to $45 million for vice president of search operations Amit Singhal just before he stepped down amid allegations he groped a co-worker, according to an unredacted version of a complaint in a shareholder’s derivative suit made public Monday.
The allegation that Singhal had groped a female Google employee in 2015 “at a boozy offsite event” had been included in a redacted version of the complaint filed in January by investor James Martin in California state court, claiming covered-up sexual misconduct has hurt the company’s value.
But an updated version of the complaint, filed amid an effort to consolidate several similar shareholder actions, contained new details about how one of the world’s biggest tech companies allegedly handled the accusation.
The unredacted complaint said Google leaders approved the multimillion-dollar payout for Singhal despite knowing about the groping allegations, and instead of acknowledging that was the reason for his 2016 departure, the company instead said he was leaving to pursue “philanthropic activities.”
The suit, originally filed in San Mateo county court but transferred to Santa Clara county on Feb. 19., focused primarily on the Alphabet board’s handling of alleged sexual misconduct at the company, including a $90 million severance package Android creator Andy Rubin was given after he was credibly accused of sexual harassment.
Rubin is named in this suit, along with numerous others including Alphabet Chief Legal Officer David Drummond, who is accused of having knowledge of pervasive sexual harassment by Google bigwigs, while doing nothing about it, and of having an extramarital child with a subordinate who was ultimately demoted.
That suit came just a day after two pension funds claimed in the same court that the Alphabet board breached its fiduciary duty and engaged in a "culture of concealment," resulting in the cover-up of a history of abuse and discrimination by high-powered male executives, as well as data breaches.
A hearing on consolidating the Martin case with pension fund cases is set for March 29.
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The pension funds are represented by Nicole Lavallee and Kristin J. Moody of Berman Tabacco, and Julie Goldsmith Reiser, Carol V. Gilden, Christopher Lometti, Richard A. Speirs and Alice Buttrick of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.
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