Court documents have revealed that a very senior Google executive was paid a huge amount of money as part of a controversial severance package.
Amit Singhal was reportedly paid as much as $45m according to some media reports, after he was forced to resign from the search engine giant, after a sexual assault investigation.
Amit Singhal was Google’s senior vice president for search, and such was his seniority at the firm, that he was the company spokesman in 2015 when the search giant said it would honour requests to remove “revenge porn” from its search listings.
But in early 2016 Amit Singhal was forced to resign after he was accused of groping a subordinate at an off-campus event.
According to the New York Times, Google’s investigation found the subordinate’s claims credible, but it should be noted that Singhal has always denied the claims against him. He reportedly told the AP in 2017 that he left Google on his own terms.
He could not be reached for further comment.
Some media reports state that Google paid Singhal a $35m exit package, but the New York Times said that it was closer to $45m.
He reportedly received two $15m payments and a payment of between $5m to $15m as part of a separation agreement.
Details of the controversial exit package emerged in court documents, that had until Monday been redacted in places.
Google’s parent Alphabet is currently being sued by shareholders after a published report of payouts Google made to executives accused of sexual misconduct.
The lawsuit alleges that the board of firectors agreed to pay off and otherwise support male executives facing misconduct charges, opening the company to reputational and financial damage.
It comes after Alphabet boss Sundar Pichai last year admitted that the company had fired 48 employees for sexual harassment over the past two years.
That admission from Pichai came after a New York Times article that alleged that Google had protected three senior executives from allegations of sexual misconduct, which allegedly included the father of Android Andy Rubin.
Rubin stepped down from his position as Android boss in 2013, and eventually left Google altogether in October 2014.
Rubin however has denied the sexual misconduct allegations and has previously said that the New York Times story contained ‘numerous inaccuracies,’ and wild exaggerations about his compensation.
Last November, after weeks of protests, Google said it would penalise staff for failing to complete mandatory sexual harassment training as part of changes to the way it handles sexual harassment claims.
It also promised to end mandatory arbitration in cases of sexual misconduct.
It came after 20,000 staff around the world staged walkouts at their local offices, in protest over the firm’s handling of sexual harassment claims.
Over the past couple of years, it is fair to say that Google has experienced some tensions within its workforce.
In January 2018 Damore sued Google for allegedly discriminating against conservative white males.
Damore accused the technology giant of “systematically” singling out, punishing and terminating employees whose views on diversity, social justice and gender bias differed from the majority view at Google.
Damore had reportedly said it was the inherent biological differences between men and women, more so than explicit discrimination that accounts for any gaps that might exist between the genders in the workplace.
And in February last year former Google employee Tim Chevalier hit the search engine giant with another lawsuit, in which he alleged he was fired for his liberal political activism whilst working for the company.
Chevalier’s lawsuit said that he identifies himself as a liberal and as “disabled, queer, and transgender.”
Chevalier alleged that Google staff frequently posted discriminatory and harassing comments about him on internal social forums.
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