You might think that women in the upper echelon of their company’s structure would generally be safe from gender bias and discrimination — but that’s not always true. Take, for example, the recent settlement by Pinterest to the tune of $22.5 million for discrimination and retaliation against a former chief operating officer (COO) who claims she was fired for speaking up about disparate treatment.
Pinterest is beloved by women — but it has been accused of treating women unfairly
The social media site’s user base is largely female. In fact, women make up about two-thirds of the platform’s users and roughly eight out of 10 of those women are moms. With that kind of demographics, it would be wise for the company to be sensitive about issues of gender-based discrimination.
It appears, however, that they were anything but. The former COO had been in her position just two years when her tenure suddenly ended without warning or explanations from the company. A few months later, however, the former executive filed a lawsuit alleging both gender discrimination and retaliation.
In her lawsuit, the woman alleged that she was paid less than her male counterparts. She also found herself shut out of company meetings and excluded from important corporate events. When she confronted the company’s chief financial officer (CFO), she was treated with derision, sexist statements and verbal abuse — then fired.
This isn’t the first time Pinterest has been accused of discrimination
While the company has avoided any admission of fault through the settlement, $2.5 million of that money is slated to be invested in programs that will benefit women and minorities in the tech industry. Plus, the company has pledged to build a company culture that is inclusive and supportive.
Pinterest’s shareholders have previously sued over allegations that the company discriminates against women and minorities. Pinterest employees also have staged walkouts over pay transparency and issues of equality in the workplace. The abundance of lawsuits would indicate that there are issues that dearly need to be addressed.
Workplace discrimination can affect anybody — no matter what their position. If you’ve been discriminated against by your employer, find out what it takes to fight back.