Pinterest agrees to a $ 22.5 million settlement in a discrimination lawsuit

A smartphone against a colorful but blurry background.
Enlarge / A Pinterest logo displayed on a smartphone.

Pinterest has reached a grand settlement with a former executive who sued for alleged rampant gender discrimination after she was pushed out of her role at the company, the company announced Monday afternoon.

Françoise Brougher was Pinterest’s Chief Operating Officer from March 2018, until the company fired her in April this year. In August, she filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that her dismissal had nothing to do with her performance and was instead retaliation against her for complaining about discrimination she encountered within the company.

While preparing Pinterest for the 2019 IPO, Brougher found that she had been deliberately misled about executive pay at the company and that she was significantly underpaid compared to her male C-suite colleagues, her lawsuit alleged. After bringing the discrepancy to the attention of Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann, she was systematically squeezed out of board and board meetings and communications, and as a result of that retaliation, she was unable to do her job, she said.

Pinterest did not recognize any liability in the settlement, according to The New York Times, which was the first to report the deal. Brougher and her attorney will receive a total of $ 20 million, and Pinterest will donate $ 2.5 million to organizations that advance the causes of “women and under-represented communities in the technology industry.”

“Pinterest recognizes the importance of fostering a work environment that is diverse, fair and inclusive and will continue its actions to improve its culture,” Brougher and Pinterest said in a joint press statement. “Françoise is delighted with the meaningful steps Pinterest has taken to improve its work environment and finds it encouraging that Pinterest is committed to building a culture where all employees feel included and supported.”

“I’m glad Pinterest has taken this very seriously,” Brougher told the NYT in an interview. “I hope it is a first step to create a better working environment there.”

A long way to go?

Brougher isn’t the only former Pinterest employee to bring up issues at the company. Several other women who have worked for Pinterest over the years, especially black women, have also claimed that the company has serious discrimination issues.

Former Pinterest policy directors Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu sofas, both of whom are black women, made their experiences of discrimination public on Pinterest in June this year. In the wake of the Banks and Ozoma allegations, several media organizations, including The Washington Post, The Verge, Business Insider, and The New York Times, jointly spoke to more than a dozen current and former Pinterest contributors who shared similar experiences.

A group of Pinterest investors filed a shareholder lawsuit in late November, alleging that the company’s top executives and its board of directors “ personally engaged in, facilitated or knowingly ignored the discrimination and retaliation against those who expressed their views and the white, ” male leadership of the company. clique ‘, which damages the public image of the company and thus its share value.

Pinterest said at the time that the company’s leadership and board are “committed to continuing our efforts to ensure that Pinterest is a place where all of our employees feel included and supported,” adding, “We also believe that the actions we have initiated as the continued independent assessment of our culture, policies and practices will help us achieve our goal of creating a diverse, fair and inclusive environment for all. ”