Pinterest settles shareholder lawsuit over workplace culture

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Pinterest on Wednesday settled a shareholder lawsuit accusing top executives of enabling a culture of discrimination.

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The financial details of the agreement between Pinterest, a popular social media platform for sharing images, and a shareholder of the Rhode Island employees’ retirement system were not publicly shared. As part of the agreement, the company is exempting former employees from nondisclosure agreements in cases of racial or gender-based discrimination.

Pinterest, a San Francisco-based company founded in 2008, is also committing $50 million to a series of improvements aimed at increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in its products.


Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magener, who acted, said, “We focused on these broad reforms to support Pinterest employees with a fair and safe workplace, and to ensure it continues to strengthen the company’s brand and performance.” to make the values ​​of inclusivity central to Pinterest’s identity.” On behalf of the employee retirement system of Rhode Island, said in a press release.

The list of reforms targets allegations made by Ifoma Ozoma and Erika Shimizu Banks that first made public With allegations of racism and discrimination at the company in June 2020. Ozoma, who is black and helps lead public policy and social impact at Pinterest, said a white male colleague helped her get personal information published on far-right forums, a process known as doxing. Known in 2008, when he suggested the company add an advisory warning to the content. Ben Shapiro, a conservative political commentator, described him as a “white supremacist”.

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Shimizu Banks, who is black and Japanese, and leads public policy and social impact at Pinterest’s Washington office, said her manager lied to her when she was negotiating her salary and shared her views in front of coworkers. Made derogatory remarks about ethnicity. Both women said they did the same job as their manager, a white man, but made significantly less money.

Two months after they came forward, former Pinterest chief operating officer François Brauger sued the company, saying they were given gender-related feedback and were paid less than their male colleagues. She said she was fired after telling Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silberman about her complaints. Brewer eventually settled with the company for $22.5 million, According to the new York Times,

After these allegations became public, Rhode Island’s Employee Retirement System sued the company, alleging that the executives “deliberately or systematically perpetuated a long-standing and systematic culture of discrimination and retaliation on Pinterest,” according to the complaint. By willfully ignoring” had breached his duty. ,

Now, Pinterest has agreed to create an office of an ombudsman to respond to employee complaints. It also says it will conduct a pay equity audit twice a year across gender and race, and “take necessary steps to maintain this equity,” according to the agreement.

The company is updating its Acceptable Use Policy to ban doxing and has created a formal process for raising complaints of discrimination, harassment or retaliation involving members of the executive team or board.

Pinterest’s commitment to not enforcing non-disclosure agreements reflects the work that Ozoma has done in California with a new law called the “Silent No More Act.” Since she left Pinterest, she has been lobbying lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 331, which would protect employees who speak out about harassment and discrimination, even if they signed an NDA. On October 7, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Silenced No More Act into law. This will be effective from January 1.

“It’s incredible for former and current employees and I’ve been fighting for it since the bill was introduced in February,” Ozoma said in an interview with Granthshala, regarding exempting former employees from nondisclosure agreements. ”

Pinterest did not immediately respond to Granthshala News’ request for comment.

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