Pinterest settles discrimination suit, pays $20 mn to Ex-COO

Pinterest is now investing $2.5 million in programmes to diversify its workforce

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Pinterest settled a gender discrimination case with Francoise Brougher, its former COO, for $20 million. Brougher had alleged that she was fired because she had spoken up about the discrimination that existed within the organisation. The settlement does not mention anything amiss at the social-media platform’s offices or any injustice.

The Company has now set aside $2.5 million to improve representation and inclusion in the tech industry. In a joint statement with Pinterest, Brougher has “welcomed” the positive steps taken by Pinterest and its commitment towards building an inclusive workplace culture.

Brougher had accused Pinterest of paying her lesser than her male peers. She had also alleged that she had been excluded from the Company’s initial public offering process even though she was one of the top executives.

She singled out Ben Silbermann, CEO, alleging that he relied heavily on the counsel of a particular male group to make important decisions for the Company. Despite being part of the executive team, Brougher felt she was never given any power or opportunity to use her talent to drive the Company forward.

Already mentally prepared to take Pinterest to trial, Brougher mustered the courage to come forward when two black women — Aerica Shimizu Banks and Ifeoma Ozoma — holding important posts in Pinterest’s policy team, left the Company in May 2020 after raising concerns over discrimination and speaking up about being paid less. However, the Human Resources had dismissed their concerns saying investigations had not revealed anything wrong or unfair.

After settling the compensation with Brougher, Pinterest has made efforts to add more directors to its board from diverse backgrounds. The Company has also taken measures to improve compensation and hiring policies.