The board of directors for Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has begun a sexual harassment investigation into certain company executives, including the company’s chief legal officer. Employers in New York and across the country have a legal obligation to provide employees with a safe environment within which to work, and sexual harassment may give rise to legal claims. According to a spokesperson for Alphabet, the board of directors formed a special committee early in 2019 to review shareholder claims of workplace misconduct.
The shareholders had filed suit against the board in January 2019 alleging that Alphabet had covered up sexual misconduct on the part of company executives. According to a New York Times report, the company ended up letting a co-founder of Android go and paid him $90 million after claims of sexual assault were deemed credible by an internal investigation. Later in 2019, a former employee of Google claimed that Alphabet’s chief legal officer had fathered a son with her and had affairs with other company employees.
The woman who made the claims said the chief legal officer had been abusive when she attempted to discuss child support with him. The chief legal officer denied the former employee’s claims. He was paid $47 million in 2018 and sold $27 million worth of company shares late in 2019. He began with Google during 2002 after starting as outside counsel for the company.
Employees who believe they have experienced harassment in the workplace may have actionable claims under state or federal law. An attorney who has experience in employment law might help by examining the facts of the case and reviewing the applicable anti-harassment statutes to determine whether sexual harassment claims exists. An attorney may be able to negotiate settlement with at-fault parties or draft and file a complaint for damages in civil court.