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Jeff Chiu / AP

Uber on Monday parted ways with Amit Singhal, who had joined the ride-hailing company just weeks earlier as senior vice president of engineering. The reason: He had been accused of sexual harassment at his prior employer, Google.

Singhal allegedly did not tell Uber the real reason he left Google in early 2016, and the company claims it didn't know until being approached by tech site Recode. So assuming this is true, that leaves us with Google—what is the search giant's role here?

Not a good look: Turns out, the answer is not much. Although Google's parent company, Alphabet, reportedly was prepared to fire Singhal after concluding that the harassment claims were "credible," it ultimately let him resign. Moreover, it gave him a dignified departure by letting him post a farewell letter that painted the picture of a well-respected executive retiring after 15 long years of service.

Standard procedure: Keeping such situations under wraps is not only common practice for employers, but also in Alphabet's best legal interest. "It's really up to the employee to disclose," Mike Delikat, who chairs the employment law practice at Orrick, told Axios. Companies usually prefer to simply confirm a former employee's time at the company when called for a job reference, and non-disclosure agreements are typically part of separation agreements, he said.

The biggest rationale is to avoid defamation lawsuits. For example, if Google had disclosed that Singhal was accused of harassment and that had cost him the Uber job, Singhal possibly could have sued for defamation (he maintains the claims are untrue). Google would then have to have proved that the accusations were true and it was making factual statements—a big headache most companies want to avoid.

Where does that leave us? Unfortunately, prospective employers often don't have formal means of learning why job candidates really left their former company—even if they were accused of sexual harassment or other misdeeds. Particularly if the job candidate lies or shades the truth, as Uber accuses Singhal of doing.

And even more unfortunate is that this creates a system that very likely puts employees, especially women, at risk. And if you think Alphabet could be held liable for not warning Uber of the situation, think again—it's under no obligation to disclose civil matters regardless of potential repercussions, according to Delikat.

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  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
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Vulnerable Democrats: Less Trump talk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Vulnerable House Democrats are convinced they need to talk less about the man who helped them get elected: President Trump.

Why it matters: Democrats are privately concerned nationalizing the 2022 mid-terms with emotionally-charged issues — from Critical Race Theory to Donald Trump's role in the Jan. 6 insurrection — will hamstring their ability to sell the local benefits of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program where he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.