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Major companies can't afford to ignore sex harassment claims

For better and worse, large corporations in America tend to set the workplace standards that other companies emulate. Unfortunately, one of America’s largest and best-known companies chose to send the wrong message about sexual assault and harassment in the workplace.

Google has received widespread criticism from employees and the public alike for the manner in which it parted ways with two high-level employees accused of sexual misconduct. Both men were allowed to leave quietly with huge payouts.

According to news reports, Andy Rubin, who created Android, left the company in 2014 after being accused of sexual assault by an employee with whom he was having an affair. Google investigated the allegations and found them to be credible. Nonetheless, Rubin was given a $90 million severance package and left the company on publicly good terms.

In 2016, search executive Amit Singhal was forced to resign after a female employee alleged that he had groped her at a work event off campus. Again, the allegations were deemed credible. Yet Singhal left the company with a $35 million payout.

Perhaps Google paid these former employees to leave quietly because it wanted to avoid the reputational damage that would accompany sexual assault allegations. But in doing so, the damage was far worse when the truth finally did come out. The company has lost some high-profile engineers. And last November, tens of thousands of Google employees participated in a walkout protest.

The #MeToo movement has raised awareness of the challenges that victims face when they try to speak up about harassment and assault. Sadly, this seems to be a classic example of why so many victims feel it is pointless to report harassment to their employers.

If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, please don’t assume that no one will listen to your story. Instead, discuss your case with an experienced employment law attorney who can help you understand your rights and legal options.

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