SEATTLE – The board of directors of Alphabet is investigating allegations of sexual abuse and inappropriate circumstances by current and former executives as part of the legal defense against shareholder litigation over the litigation, according to documents presented by The New York Times.  The Internet giant's board formed a special litigation committee of independent directors this year and hired the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore to investigate the allegations made in such a shareholder lawsuit, according to the documents.
In a statement, Alphabet affirmed that the board had set up a committee "to address the claims made by shareholders in various lawsuits related to prior workplace conduct." It did not elaborate further.
The board's actions show how it continues to cope with the fallout from the path it has previously handled Google's sexual harassment at Alphabet. The shareholder lawsuit followed an article in the New York Times last year that revealed that Alphabet's board had approved a $ 90 million exit package for a star executive, Andy Rubin, although an investigation into a sexual harassment claim against him was considered credible. The lawsuits accused the board of allowing the abuse.
As part of the inquiry, Cravath's attorneys have reached out to women who filed charges against Google executives, according to the documents.
The lawyers also look at relationships involving David Drummond, Alphabet's chief executive and one of the company's senior executives, who had an extramarital affair with a woman who worked for him and recently married another woman from Google's legal department.  CNBC previously reported the investigation by Alphabet's board.
News of the payments to Mr. Rubin and other executives accused of injustice, along with continued hiring of male executives who had acted inappropriately with women on Google, affected off-woes over the company and prompted a walkout of 20,000 employees for a years ago.
In August, Jennifer Blakely, a former senior contract manager in Google's legal department, published an essay on Medium about her relationship with Mr. Drummond. She wrote about how being forced out of her position in the legal department after her son was born made it impossible to hide the relationship. Blakely was part of the Times article.
Ms. Blakely also said that after the two split, Drummond had relationships with other people in the company. Alphabet has not responded to Ms. Blakely's comments, but Mr. Drummond said at the time that he had never initiated a relationship with "anyone else who worked at Google or Alphabet."
Sundar Pichai, Google's CEO, said in October 2018 that Google had fired 48 people over a two-year period in response to allegations of harassment and that no one had received an exit package.
Employee anger over the payouts has also pushed Google's workforce to speak on a wide range of issues, including the company's policy on contract workers and doing more to combat climate change.