Image sharing and social media platform Pinterest has paid US $22.5 million (roughly ₹1.7 billion) to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit. It is also being referred to as the largest publicised settlement of its kind.
The lawsuit was brought about by Françoise Brougher, former Chief Operating Officer of the company.
Brougher filed the lawsuit in August and alleged that she was fired speaking out about “the rampant discrimination, hostile work environment, and misogyny that permeates Pinterest.”
Confirming the settlement, she wrote on Twitter, “Today, Pinterest and I announced that we have reached a settlement. This includes a $2.5M to charitable organizations that promote women and underrepresented communities. I will continue to advocate for workplace equity, including more women in the C-Suite.”
She wrote extensively on her blogpost titled “The Pinterest Paradox: Cupcakes and Toxicity” about why she was fired, the kind of discrimination women face and the generally toxic work environment at Pinterest.
She spoke of how a major part of the company’s users are women but the work environment and the structure discriminates against women, excludes and marginalises them.
Talking to The New York Times, David Lowe, Brougher’s lawyer, said “the settlement with Pinterest was notable because of its size, its charitable component and its public announcement”.
In a statement, the company said: “Pinterest recognises the importance of fostering a workplace environment that is diverse, equitable and inclusive and will continue its actions to improve its culture.”
The settlement could mark a shift in the general toxic work culture that permeates misogyny and discrimination. Brougher also spoke about eliminating the “boy’s club” that dominate far too many companies, take up most of the space and leave no room for women.
Brougher’s lawsuit was preceded by public accusations by two Black employees, Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks, against the company for gender and racial discrimination.
All of this lead to a 200 employee virtual walkout and signing of a petition that stated “I am [upset/angry/shocked/unhappy/whatever you’re feeling] about the racial and gender discrimination that has happened at Pinterest, and am leaving work early today. Join me. changeatpinterest.com.”