Pinterest Inc. agreed to pay $ 22.5 million to settle claims of gender discrimination and retaliation by its former Chief Operating Officer Francoise Brougher as Silicon Valley grapples with mounting pressure to address discrimination and diversity issues within its ranks.
Ms. Brougher sued Pinterest in August for alleging that the social media company maintained a culture of secrecy among top male executives, which kept her out of meetings and decision-making.
In a blog post, she accused the company of having a hostile work environment for women and that “female executives, even at the highest levels, are being marginalized, excluded and silenced.”
FORMER AMAZONE EMPLOYEE ARRIVES BLACK CLAIM COMPANY, HISPANIC EMPLOYEES DID NOT GIVE PPE
Mrs. Brougher, a former director of Square Inc. and Google from Alphabet Inc., was hired in 2018 and became Pinterest’s first operational chief and one of the top female figures at the company. She said she was fired in April.
“Pinterest recognizes the importance of fostering a work environment that is diverse, fair and inclusive and will continue to take action to improve its culture,” the company said in a joint statement with Ms. Brougher. The company settled the lawsuit without admitting any liability.
Pinterest will pay Ms. Brougher and her attorneys $ 20 million and make a $ 2.5 million investment to advance women and underrepresented communities in the technology industry, the statement said.
GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE
The company has been publicly accused of other cases of gender bias and racial discrimination. In June, two former female employees, Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks, who are black, said they were paid less than male counterparts and retaliated for talking about it.
Their criticism sparked a wave of support when staff posted messages in Slack channels supporting the claims and pushing for improvements at the company. The employees asked supporters to use the hashtag #changeatpinterest and sign a petition calling for an end to discrimination and retaliation at the company.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT FOX BUSINESS
Shortly after, the company said it had hired a law firm to conduct an independent evaluation of its work culture.
In August, the company hired Tyi McCray as the global head of inclusion and diversity, reporting to co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann.
Pinterest has added two black women to its board of directors. The image-sharing company brought in veteran media executive Andrea Wishom and former Walt Disney Co. president Salaam Coleman Smith as directors.
Ms. Brougher said in the statement that she was encouraged by Pinterest’s actions to help employees feel included and supported.
—Sarah E. Needleman contributed to this article.