Google lets go of 48 employees over 2 years, CEO assures staff of safe workplace

Google CEO Sundar Pichai (pictured) has revealed that the organisation had terminated 48 former employees in the last two years. Out of that number, 13 were senior managers and above and none received an exit package. This was according to a copy of an email sent to employees by Sundar Pichai, CEO, and Eileen Naughton, VP People Operations and provided by a Google spokesperson.

The memo came in response to a New York Times report which said Google had paid Andy Rubin, the creator of Android mobile software, a US$90 million exit package after terminating his employment in the wake of a sexual misconduct investigation. The same report explained that the package was paid in installments of US$2 million a month for four years, with the last payment being scheduled for next month, while pointing out Google's silence over Rubin's exit.

In an internal memo, Pichai prefaced the matter by acknowledging that the story in the New York Times was “difficult to read”. He added that Google is “dead serious about making sure [it] provides 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,” he added. The memo explained that in recent years, a number of changes had been made, including taking an “increasingly hard line” on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority. This included the launch of Respect@ in 2015 and its annual Internal Investigations Report to provide transparency about these types of investigations at Google.

“We support and respect those who have spoken out. You can find many ways to do this at go/say something. 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,” the memo added.

It added that it is committed to ensuring that Google is a workplace that employees can feel safe to do their best work, and where there are serious consequences for anyone who behaves inappropriately.