Google's Fucking ProblemSergey Brin cheated on his wife—that's sort of not your business, unless you're his wife, in which case, hi Anne, we're sorry! But the disruptive affair was with a subordinate—a choice that could get him in trouble at pretty much any company. But does Google care, at all?

Google presents the following standard, staid "Code of Conduct" on its corporate relations website:

In working at Google, we have an obligation to always do what’s best for the company and our users. When you are in a situation in which competing loyalties could cause you to pursue a personal benefit for you, your friends or your family at the expense of Google or our users, you may be faced with a conflict of interest.
All of us should avoid conflicts of interest and circumstances that reasonably present the appearance of a conflict.When faced with a potential conflict of interest, ask yourself:
Would this activity create an incentive for me, or be perceived by others to create an incentive for me, to benefit myself, my friends or my family, or an associated business at the expense of Google?
Would this activity harm my reputation, negatively impact my ability to do my job at Google, or potentially harm Google?

Would this activity embarrass Google or me if it showed up on the front page of a newspaper or a blog?


Emphasis added. Even in 2013, a majorly influential executive dating an underlying two thirds his age behind the backs of his wife and children: frowned upon. It was without a doubt embarrassing for Google that Sergey Brin, the public face of Google Glass, and Amanda Rosenberg, one of his PR staffers, were up to something sordid. The New York Post reported Rosenberg was already transferred into a new position, so clearly her "ability to do my job at Google" was questioned after the fact.

But should Sergey get off the hook? Is there even a wrist slap? A wrist flick? Multiple sources familiar with Google's HR practices told me employees are required to disclose relationships with someone "who reports to you." But I'm also told that Google is departmentally structured in a way that means Rosenberg technically doesn't report to Brin—but rather some other manager. Despite the fact that they would have had regular, close professional contact. Despite the fact that this is by no means Sergey's first intra-office sex romp, according to multiple sources with ties to Google. The internet pioneer has a longstanding rep for dipping his stylus in the company e-ink, and this is only the latest iteration—it's become an eye-roll-and-sigh joke within HR at this point, just Sergey being Sergey.

It's all very droll, I'm sure, unless you're the one not exempt from company policy.

Google has ignored repeated inquiries about its stance on the superior/inferior relationship.