January 10, 2005 4:00 AM PST
Google riches outed on the Web
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Employee complaints aren't exactly piling up about Google's generous stock grant policies, which have helped create an estimated 1,000 new millionaires, on paper at least. But the SEC filings have struck something of a nerve inside the company by offering an unusually candid look into the wealth of co-workers. That's creating unaccustomed tensions inside a workplace that has long projected an image of collegial egalitarianism to the outside world, some people said.
A rarely invoked securities law is requiring Google to publicly report stock sales of hundreds of its employees, rather than just a handful of top shareholders.
The SEC filings have struck a nerve by offering a candid look into the earning power of co-workers, creating unaccustomed tensions inside a workplace that has long projected an image of egalitarianism.
"The whole culture's really strange when there are two people in the same cubicle and one's worth $1 million and the other is worth nothing and they both know it," said one person close to the company. "It's created this asymmetry where some people feel more entitled than others."
Google, brimming with idealism and its seemingly altruistic goal of turning the world into a giant digital library, is now wrestling with the discomforting mixture of instant employee wealth and a little too much information of its own.
Google declined to comment for this story. But securities lawyers said the stock sale disclosures stem from an SEC rule regarding the sale or purchase of securities outside of a public offering.
Typically only executive officers or directors of a company must file their trades with the SEC, allowing most employees to buy and sell their stock anonymously.
Securities lawyers said companies can typically avoid reporting restricted stock sales under an exemption known as rule 701, but only
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