Google CEO Sundar Pichai: We've fired 48 employees for sexual harassment

Google CEO responds to report that Google gave Android founder a $90m exit payout after concluding sexual misconduct complaint was credible.

Google has fired 48 employees in the past two years for sexual harassment, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told staff in an email on Thursday.

The email, obtained by CNBC, said 13 of the 48 people dismissed were senior managers and above and that none got an exit package on departure.

Pichai emailed staff in response to a New York Times' report alleging that Android co-creator Andy Rubin had been given a $90m exit package in 2014, despite having departed after being accused of sexual misconduct.

The allegations were made by a female employee with whom he was having an extramarital affair. According to the report, Google investigated the claim, concluded it was credible, prompting Google co-founder and then CEO Larry Page to demand Rubin's resignation.

Rubin, responding to the story, said it is wrong on a number of counts.

"The New York Times story contains numerous inaccuracies about my employment at Google and wild exaggerations about my compensation. Specifically, I never coerced a woman to have sex in a hotel room," he said in a tweet.

"These false allegations are part of a smear campaign to disparage me during a divorce and custody battle. Also, I am deeply troubled that anonymous Google executives are commenting about my personnel file and misrepresenting the facts."

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Pichai said the story was "difficult to read" and that Google is now "dead serious" about making the company a safe and inclusive workplace, highlighting it reviews all complaints about sexual harassment.

He also noted that Google offers ways for staff to anonymously report complaints. And now company policy requires that all VPs and senior VPs disclose relationships with co-workers.

According to the New York Times, as Google's inquiry into the complaint was under way, Google's board awarded Rubin a stock grant worth $150m. It was not known whether the board was aware of the investigation.

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Pichai said Google is now "dead serious" about making the company a safe and inclusive workplace.

Image: James Martin/CNET

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