The famed creator of Android was ushered from Google in October 2014 when the company found allegations against him of having committed sexual misconduct against a co-worker to be credible, according to The New York Times. Upon his departure from the industry giant, Andy Rubin was still given a $150 million stock grant, to be paid out over several years, along with a $90 million exit package. Rubin's alleged misdeeds were first reported in November 2017.
In an account that left us thunderstruck, The New York Times reported Thursday that Andy Rubin is just one of three top executives who have received massive payouts over the past decade despite being accused of similar behavior.
"Each time Google stayed silent about the accusations against the men," the newspaper concluded, noting that the company had the option of dismissing them with far less recompense or even nothing at all.
As the NYT article continued:
What Google did not make public [at the time of Rubin's departure] was that an employee had accused Mr. Rubin of sexual misconduct. The woman, with whom Mr. Rubin had been having an extramarital relationship, said he coerced her into performing oral sex in a hotel room in 2013, according to two company executives with knowledge of the episode. Google investigated and concluded her claim was credible, said the people, who spoke on the condition that they not be named, citing confidentiality agreements. Mr. Rubin was notified, they said, and [Google co-founder Larry] Page asked for his resignation.
Google did not immediately respond to Ars' request for comment or specific questions.
The Times cited internal corporate documents, public court documents, and "more than three dozen current and former Google executives and employees" in its reporting. Nearly all were anonymous.
When the Times asked about the cases against Rubin and the other two executives who had received payouts, Google said it takes such reports "seriously."
"We investigate and take action, including termination," Eileen Naughton, Google's vice president for people operations, said in a statement. "In recent years, we've taken a particularly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority. We're working hard to keep improving how we handle this type of behavior."
Ars sent Sam Singer, a spokesman for Andy Rubin, a series of specific questions. He replied that he would get back to us.
Singer then sent Ars the same statement he appeared to have sent to the Times, which noted that Rubin "left Google on his own accord." He added that Rubin "did not engage, nor has he ever been told of any misconduct at Google or anywhere else."
Rubin acknowledged a "consensual relationship" with a co-worker in 2012.
"To his knowledge, at that time there were no policies in place that prohibited relationships between employees," Singer continued.
UPDATE 3:32pm ET: Google did not respond to Ars' questions but provided us with "an email sent to employees by Sundar Pichai, CEO, and Eileen Naughton, VP People Operations." We have reprinted it in full 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 [email protected] 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