On Thursday and Friday, some Google employees said they were dispirited by how some executives accused of harassment were paid millions of dollars even as the company was fending off lawsuits from former employees and the Department of Labor that claimed it underpaid women. Google has said in the past that it had found “no significant difference” in the pay between men and women at the company.
Other employees said they tried to calculate how many hours of their work would have gone toward generating the $90 million that Mr. Rubin obtained in his exit package. Mr. Rubin has denied any misconduct and said the report of his compensation was a “wild exaggeration.”
Some Google employees said they had more questions after Mr. Pichai and Eileen Naughton, vice president of people operations, wrote in an email on Thursday that the company had fired 48 people, including 13 senior managers, for sexual harassment over the last two years and that none of them received an exit package.
Some workers said they wanted more data on how many claims were investigated and how many were found credible before the 48 people were terminated, while others questioned the promotion and hiring system that allowed 13 people to become senior managers who harassed in the first place.
Liz Fong-Jones, a Google engineer for more than a decade and an activist on workplace issues, said in a tweet that judgments over misconduct claims can be clouded by whether a person’s boss feels they can “afford” to lose that person. In the case of Mr. Rubin and others, she said, that put Mr. Page in the spotlight.
“The decision maker must have been Larry Page,” Ms. Fong-Jones wrote. “The buck stops there.”
At Google’s employee meeting on Thursday, hours after Alphabet reported another quarter of blockbuster earnings, Mr. Page spoke to employees along with Mr. Pichai and Ms. Naughton. It was unclear how they responded to the question from employees, but the executives struck a conciliatory tone, according to remarks obtained by The Times.
During the meeting, Mr. Page and Mr. Pichai did not comment on specific misconduct cases. Mr. Pichai noted that Google had made some “important changes” in how it handles harassment cases, according to the remarks.