Friday 11 January 2019 2:26 pm

Shareholders sue Alphabet board over allegations it was complicit in covering up sexual misconduct claims

Shareholders have filed lawsuits against Google parent company Alphabet over allegations that the company covered up claims of sexual misconduct against top executives.

In two lawsuits filed this week, investors claimed that Alphabet's board failed in its duties by not tackling harassment within the company, approving large payouts and acting to conceal allegations, according to Reuters.

Read more: Google can limit right to be forgotten to EU

Both lawsuits name the full board of Alphabet, which includes co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, venture capitalist John Doerr and investor Ram Shriram.

Last year, the New York Times reported that Android creator Andy Rubin received a $90m exit package in 2014, while allegations of sexual misconduct against him were covered up.

The report also claimed that Google allowed a former vice president Amit Singhal to resign following claims of harassment against him, paying him millions of dollars upon his departure.

The lawsuits allege that board minutes show that the payouts were approved by board members. The filings also claim that internal investigations finding the sexual allegations credible, Reuters reported.

Both Rubin and Singhal have denied the allegations.

“The conduct of Rubin and other executives was disgusting, illegal, immoral,degrading to women, and contrary to every principle that Google claims it abides by,” claimed a suit filed by shareholder James Martin.

Another suit, filed by Northern California Pipe Trades Pension Plan and Teamsters Local 272 Labor Management Pension Fund, accused the board of operating a “pattern of concealment”, allowing “a pervasive culture of harassment and discrimination”.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages, including the return of more than $90m that was paid to departing former executives, as well as reforms to the company’s corporate governance and share structure.

The claims sparked a series of mass walkouts by Google employees worldwide last year, in which staff called for an improved work culture and a better process for reporting sexual harassment.

Read more: Google has its #MeToo moment as staff walkout over treatment of women

As a result, Google said it would remove the company’s policy of forced arbitration, which prohibits staff from suing in harassment cases.

Following the walkouts, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai also claimed that Google had fired 48 employees for sexual misconduct over the past two years.

City A.M. has approached Alphabet for comment.