Google

On January 10, 2019, Bottini & Bottini and the Renne Public Law Group filed a shareholder derivative action in the Superior Court for the State of California, County of San Mateo, against Google’s Board of Directors and certain executives of the Company. The complaint is the product of substantial investigation by the law firm of Bottini & Bottini, including a shareholder inspection demand, pursuant to which Google produced non-public minutes from its Board of Director and Board Committee meetings.

“Google and the board of directors have direct personal liability for covering up the wrongdoing and allowing it to continue for years, thereby significantly harming women employees at Google,” said Frank Bottini, attorney for the Plaintiff.

The Plaintiff is represented by Frank Bottini, Albert Chang, and Yury Kolesnikov of Bottini & Bottini and Louis Renne and Ann M. Ravel of the Renne Public Law Group. Ms. Renne is a former City Attorney of San Francisco and has worked on important public interest and women's rights issues over her long and distinguished career, including a lawsuit which opened up the Olympic Club in San Francisco to women.

Ann M. Ravel is the former Chair of the Federal Elections Commission under President Obama and a former County Counsel for Santa Clara County.

"I am honored to be working with Louise and Ann on this important case which we believe will be a landmark case to protect a woman's right to be free from sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, and to hold a company's Board of Directors liable when they are complicit in covering up sexual harassment," said Frank Bottini, Managing Partner of Bottini & Bottini.

The complaint alleges that the Individual Defendants knew about sexual harassment by numerous senior Google executives, including defendant Andy Rubin (the creator of Android mobile software), against whom credible allegations of sexual misconduct were confirmed through an internal investigation. Instead of disciplining these senior executives, however, the Individual Defendants protected them. The Individual Defendants failed to timely disclose the harassment, and then attempted to cover up the harassment when news reports began to suggest that egregious sexual harassment and discrimination had occurred at Google.

For example, in Rubin’s case, Rubin was allowed to quietly resign by defendants Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google’s co-founders and Alphabet’s controlling shareholders) after an internal investigation found the allegations of sexual harassment by Rubin to be credible. As reported by The New York Times on October 26, 2018, Rubin coerced a Google employee to perform sex acts in 2013, while he was a Google senior executive.

While at Google, Rubin is also alleged to have engaged in human sex trafficking – paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to women to be, in Rubin’s own words, “owned” by him. Google, meanwhile, has paid lobbyists to oppose legislation in Washington that had bi-partisan support and sought to combat human sex trafficking. While at Google, Rubin is also alleged to have engaged in human sex trafficking – paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to women to be, in Rubin’s own words, “owned” by him. Google, meanwhile, has paid lobbyists to oppose legislation in Washington that had bi-partisan support and sought to combat human sex trafficking.

Similarly, Amit Singhal, a senior executive at Google, was allowed to quietly resign at Google in 2016 in the wake of credible allegations of sexual harassment, and was paid millions in severance. He then joined Uber, but failed to disclose the allegations. He was fired by Uber in February 2017 for failing to disclose the credible allegations of sexual harassment while at Google. Google never disclosed the reason for Singhal’s departure.

The complaint alleges that the Directors’ wrongful conduct allowed the illegal conduct to proliferate and continue. As such, members of Alphabet’s Board were knowing and direct enablers of the sexual harassment and discrimination. Thus, the Board not only violated California and federal law, it also violated Alphabet’s ethical standards and guidelines and caused massive employee protests and revolts to occur when the truth came to light in late October 2018.

The complaint seeks damages and injunctive relief.