A former Google engineer said she endured a year of harassment. She’s now vowing to ‘never love a job again.’

Google logo office Mountain View
Google’s logo seen at its Mountain View campus.

  • Ex-Google engineer Emi Nietfeld said she endured harassment and retaliation while working there.
  • In an op-ed for The New York Times, she said Google’s response led her to vow to “never love a job again.”
  • Multiple current and former Googlers have accused the company of discrimination.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Workers have long coveted jobs in the tech industry because companies promise things like good pay, prestige, luxurious perks, and innovative cultures.

But Emi Nietfeld, a Google engineer from 2015 to 2019, wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times on Wednesday that she left her tech job because Google’s supposed reputation as a great place to work masked the reality that – just like other companies – it ultimately looks out for itself.

Nietfeld said in the op-ed that one her male managers sexually harassed for more than a year, calling her “beautiful,” “gorgeous,” and “my queen” – and that Google’s reputation made it that much harder to speak up.

“Saying anything about his behavior meant challenging the story we told ourselves about Google being so special,” Nietfeld wrote, adding: “Google was the Garden of Eden; I lived in fear of being cast out.”

Google did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

When she eventually filed a formal HR complaint, Nietfeld wrote: “Google went from being a great workplace to being any other company.”

Google ignored Nietfeld’s concerns about having to sit next to her harasser during and after its three-month-long investigation, even after concluding that he violated the company’s harassment policy, she said, while suggesting that Nietfeld seek counseling, work remotely, or take a leave of absence.

It’s not the first time Google has come under fire over similar cultural and equity issues.

Multiple former Google employees said that the company told them to take mental health leave when they experienced sexism and racism. Oher employees and shareholders have filed lawsuits accusing Google of gender pay bias, retaliation against whistleblowers, and mishandling major sexual harassment incidents involving top executives.

Nietfeld said Google didn’t appear to do much in the way of reprimanding her harasser, and after suffering through weeks of bad sleep and emotional distress at work, she took three months of paid leave. But Nietfeld said she returned only to face retaliation from another manager, get passed over for promotion, have her pay cut, and have Google make a “meager counteroffer” when two competing job offers came up.

“After I quit, I promised myself to never love a job again. Not in the way I loved Google. Not with the devotion businesses wish to inspire when they provide for employees’ most basic needs like food and health care and belonging. No publicly traded company is a family. I fell for the fantasy that it could be,” Nietfeld wrote.

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A high-profile engineer at Mailchimp accused the company of ‘sexism and bullying’ in resignation announcement

Mailchimp
Mailchimp has announced a new Patreon integration for its users.

Kelly Ellis, a principal software engineer at the email-marketing company Mailchimp, accused the company of gender discrimination and harassment in a series of tweets announcing her resignation Wednesday.

“Welp, I guess it’s official: I’m leaving my job. I dealt with sexism and bullying, and found out that I, as the only female principal [engineer], was paid less than the other (male) principals outside of Atlanta. I would not recommend friends work at Mailchimp, especially women,” Ellis tweeted.

“Honestly, this sucks, I really didn’t expect to quit today. A conversation about comp went really south. I’m an unhappy camper, but hopefully brighter things are on the horizon,” she added.

Ellis and Mailchimp did not respond to requests for comment.

Ellis has garnered a large following on social media and has frequently spoken publicly about gender and racial discrimination.

In 2017, she and other female engineers sued Google – where Ellis worked for more than four years, according to her LinkedIn profile – accusing the company of paying women less than men, and a court is currently deciding whether to grant the lawsuit class action status. (In a separate case, Google agreed this month to pay $2.6 million to workers to settle racial and gender bias claims brought by the US Department of Labor).

Ellis’s resignation follows a series of high-profile departures by women and people of color from tech firms including Google, Pinterest, and Coinbase over allegations of bias, discrimination, and harassment.

Are you a current or former Mailchimp employee with insight to share? We’d love to hear about your experiences there. Contact this reporter using a non-work device via encrypted messaging app Signal ( +1 503-319-3213 ), email (tsonnemaker@insider.com), or Twitter (@TylerSonnemaker ). We can keep sources anonymous. PR pitches by email only, please.

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Google will pay $2.6 million to workers over claims its hiring and pay practices were biased against women and Asians

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Google is seen at an office building in Zurich, Switzerland July 1, 2020.   REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Logo of Google is seen at an office building in Zurich

Google has reached a deal with the US Department of Labor, requiring it to pay nearly $2.6 million in back wages to thousands of workers over claims that the company’s pay and hiring practices illegally disadvantaged women and Asians.

Google must also review its pay and hiring practices, conduct a gender pay equity study, and provide updates about its progress toward closing the gender pay gap as part of the deal, which was signed on January 15 and made public by the DOL on Monday. 

The department said that as part of an audit of several Google locations in Washington state, California, and New York, it had identified “preliminary indicators” that Google had failed to comply with a 1965 executive order that bars discrimination in the pay and hiring of federal contractors.

That audit revealed early evidence suggesting that, between 2014 and 2017, Google had paid female engineers at its Mountain View, California, as well as Seattle and Kirkland, Washington, locations “less than comparable male employees,” according to the DOL.

The agency also found evidence suggesting Google had discriminated against female and Asian applicants for engineering jobs at its San Francisco and Sunnyvale, California, locations as well as at the Kirkland facility.

“We believe everyone should be paid based upon the work they do, not who they are, and invest heavily to make our hiring and compensation processes fair and unbiased,” Google spokesperson Jennifer Rodstrom told Insider in a statement.

“For the past eight years, we have run annual internal pay equity analysis to identify and address any discrepancies. We’re pleased to have resolved this matter related to allegations from the 2014-2017 audits and remain committed to diversity and equity and to supporting our people in a way that allows them to do their best work,” Rodstrom added.

In total, around 2,565 women who worked at Google are eligible for back pay over wage discrimination allegations, while around 2,976 women and Asian applicants for Google jobs are eligible for back pay as a result of the alleged hiring discrimination.

In return for agreeing to the DOL’s “early resolution,” Google won’t have 39 of its facilities audited by the agency for five years, though the agency can still bring legal action if Google violates the agreement.

Google has faced allegations of racial and gender bias previously, including an ongoing class-action lawsuit over gender bias claims, and more recently, an employee rebellion over the company’s dismissal of AI ethics researcher Timnit Gebru.

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2020 brought a wave of discrimination and harassment allegations against major companies like Amazon, McDonald’s, and Pinterest. These are some of the year’s high-profile legal battles.

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  • The #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo movements have exploded in recent years, shedding light on systemic racial and gender bias across American society, and in particular, within American workplaces.
  • In 2020, workers spoke publicly in increasing numbers, often by taking their employers to court over pay disparities, harassment and abuse, and toxic company cultures.
  • Major businesses including Google, Amazon, McDonald’s, Pinterest, and Johnson & Johnson faced new legal battles this year over allegations of racism and sexism.
  • Here are the highest-profile racial and gender discrimination, harassment, and sexual abuse lawsuits that were filed in 2020 against US companies and executives or that added new plaintiffs.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

American workplaces have long been hotbeds of discrimination and harassment, particularly for those who aren’t white, light-skinned, male, straight, single, young, able-bodied Americans.

Since 2000, 99% of Fortune 500 companies have paid settlements in at least one discrimination or sexual harassment lawsuit, according to a report from Good Jobs First, and that’s not including the cases without a public record or incidents victims didn’t report.

Even though there are laws against pay discrimination, US companies on average still pay women just $0.82 for every dollar they pay men, and pay women of color even less – and executives have made virtually no progress in closing wage gaps across the country since the early 2000s. In 2019, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received more than 7,500 sexual harassment complaints, and 72,000 complaints about racial, sex, age, religious and other types of discrimination.

In recent years, however, empowered in part by the #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo movements, American workers are increasingly turning to the courts to hold their employers accountable for breaking civil rights laws and demand companies fix racist, sexist, ageist, ableist, and other biased pay practices and work environments.

Since 2018, companies like Google, Uber, Fox News, Riot Games, UPS, Coca-Cola, and Target have paid out multimillion-dollar settlements, and this year brought an even larger wave of high-profile cases.

Here are some of the major workplace discrimination, harassment, and retaliation lawsuits that workers filed against America’s largest companies in 2020, as well as cases where new plaintiffs joined.

Have you faced discrimination or harassment in your workplace? Contact this reporter using a non-work device via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 503-319-3213, or by email at tsonnemaker@insider.com. We can keep sources anonymous.

Amazon was accused in lawsuits this year of having hiring practices and COVID-19 safety measures that were racially biased, as well as discriminating against a pregnant transgender man.

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  • February: Former hiring manager Lisa McCarrick sued Amazon after her manager allegedly asked her to stalk job applicants’ social media accounts to determine their race and gender, and then fired her when she complained. [NBC News]
  • October: Shaun Simmons, a transgender man, claimed in a lawsuit that he faced harassment and retaliation while working at Amazon and was demoted and denied a promotion after telling his manager he was pregnant. [NBC News]
  • November: Former Amazon warehouse employee Chris Smalls sued Amazon over its pandemic response, claiming it violated civil rights laws by failing to protect Black, Brown, and immigrant warehouse workers from COVID-19 while looking out for its mostly white managers. [Business Insider]
  • November: Denard Norton, a Black Amazon warehouse employee, sued the company accusing it of denying him promotions based on race and ignoring his repeated complaints about coworkers’ racist remarks. [NJ.com]

Bloomberg LP was hit by lawsuits accusing it of aiding and abetting Charlie Rose’s sexual harassment, as well as racial and gender bias in its pay and promotion practices.

Bloomberg Rose
Michael Bloomberg accepts the Governor’s Award from Charlie Rose at the 55th Annual New York Emmy Awards gala at the Marriott Marquis Times Square on April 1, 2012 in New York City.

  • June: Two women who had accused ex-CBS News host Charlie Rose of sexual harassment also sued Bloomberg for “aiding and abetting” Rose, who operated his independently owned studio out of Bloomberg’s New York headquarters. [The Hollywood Reporter]
  • August: Former Bloomberg reporter Nafeesa Syeed sued the company for pay and promotion practices that were allegedly “top-down” and systemically biased against women of color. [HR Dive]

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a private philanthropy run by Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, was sued by employees who claimed Black employees are “underpaid, undervalued, and marginalized.”

mark zuckerberg priscilla chan facebook
Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg attend the 2020 Breakthrough Prize Red Carpet at NASA Ames Research Center on November 03, 2019 in Mountain View, California.

  • November: ex-CZI employee Ray Holgado sued the nonprofit, claiming he was consistently denied promotion and growth opportunities, and was treated differently because of his race. [Business Insider]

Disney was sued in 2019 over gender-based pay discrimination, and multiple additional women joined the lawsuit this year.

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  • March: Chelsea Henke became the tenth Disney executive to join a lawsuit filed against the company in April 2019 that alleged “rampant gender pay discrimination.” [LA Times]

Facebook became the subject of a federal complaint alleging the company is biased against Black employees and candidates.

mark zuckerberg
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill October 23, 2019 in Washington, DC.

  • July: While not a formal lawsuit, a Facebook recruiter and two rejected job applicants filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accusing Facebook of “racial discrimination” against Black workers and applicants “in hiring, evaluations, promotions, and pay.” [Business Insider]

Fox News ex-host Ed Henry was accused of sexual assault, while hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Howard Kurtz, and Gianno Caldwell were all accused of harassment in a lawsuit by a former producer.

AP20202834554012
Fox News ex-host Ed Henry, and hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity.

  • July: Former Fox News producer Jennifer Eckhart claimed in a lawsuit that ex-host Ed Henry violently raped her, and that Fox News knew and refused to discipline him, while former Fox guest Cathy Areu alleged she was sexually harassed by Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Howard Kurtz, and Gianno Caldwell. [Business Insider]

Goldman Sachs allegedly covered up sexual misconduct by a top lawyer, and the woman who spoke publicly about it sued, claiming the company retaliated against her.

Goldman Sachs
A sign is displayed in the reception of Goldman Sachs in Sydney, Australia, May 18, 2016.

  • October: Former Goldman Sachs employee Marla Crawford claimed one of the bank’s top lawyers, Darrell Cafasso, sexually harassed a female subordinate and that Goldman covered up the allegations and retaliated against her for trying to speak publicly about it. [Business Insider]

Google ex-employees who sued the company in 2017 over gender pay disparities asked the court this year to expand their case to include 10,800 additional coworkers.

Google Walkout.JPG
Protesters at the 2018 Google walkout.

  • July: Four employees who sued Google in 2017, alleging women at the company are paid about $16,794 less than men in similar positions, asked the court to grant their lawsuit class action status, which would allow them to represent 10,800 other female Google employees. [Business Insider]

Hearst, the parent company of Esquire magazine, was sued by an ex-executive at Esquire who claimed she faced gender and age discrimination from her former boss.

GettyImages 1272616103 NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 14: A view of the Hearst Tower as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on September 14, 2020 in New York City. The fourth phase allows outdoor arts and entertainment, sporting events without fans and media production. (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
Hearst Tower in New York City, NY.

  • September: Former Esquire ad executive Lauren Johnson, 52, sued Hearst, the magazine’s parent company, claiming she faced age and gender discrimination as well as retaliation for complaining, and that her boss Jack Essig “regularly mocked” older employees and female workers. [Business Insider]

Johnson & Johnson was sued by an ex-exec who claimed she faced “sexist, harassing and demeaning” behavior from male coworkers due to her gender and sexual orientation.

GettyImages 1269284050 Building of the company Johnson and Johnson in the Juan Carlos I Business Park in Madrid, it is an American multinational of medical, pharmaceutical and perfumery products, Spain. (Photo by Cristina Arias/Cover/Getty Images)
  • December: Gina Bilotti, a high-ranking 25-year veteran of Johnson & Johnson, sued the company, claiming she had endured years of discrimination, harassment, abuse, and retaliation on the basis of her gender and sexual orientation. [NJ.com]

Marriott was sued by a Black ex-employee who claimed he was fired in retaliation for complaining about racist behavior by coworkers.

FILE PHOTO: A guest arrives at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square in New York City, U.S., November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A guest arrives at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square in New York

  • July: Kaseam Seales, formerly a bellhop at a Marriott hotel in New Jersey, claimed the company fired him in retaliation for complaining that his coworkers were exhibiting racist behavior toward him, and that they consistently gave more lucrative shifts to white bellhops. [Providence Journal]

McDonald’s is facing two racial discrimination lawsuits from Black franchisees as well as a class action sexual harassment suit, and could be on the hook for billions of dollars in damages.

GettyImages 1216832772 PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 01: protesters march with three placards stating "BLACK Lives Matter" past a vandalized McDonald's restaurant on June 1, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Demonstrations have erupted all across the country in response George Floyd's death in Minneapolis, Minnesota while in police custody a week ago. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
  • April: McDonald’s employees filed a $500 million sexual harassment class-action lawsuit against the company, claiming they faced physical and verbal harassment from coworkers and customers. [Business Insider]
  • August: 52 Black ex-franchisees filed a $1 billion racial-discrimination lawsuit against McDonald’s, claiming the company sent them on “financial suicide missions” by pushing them to open stores in less profitable locations, eventually cutting the number of Black franchisees by 50% over the past two decades. [Business Insider]
  • October: In a separate class action suit, current Black franchisees said they faced a “pipeline of discrimination” from McDonald’s, which allegedly imposed “two standards” for white and black owners, giving white franchisees better opportunities while being more strict with Black owners on safety inspections. [Business Insider]

Morgan Stanley’s first diversity officer sued the bank over claims of racial discrimination and retaliating against employees who tried to make its culture more inclusive.

GettyImages 918882888 LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 15: Morgan Stanley's director of the Urban Markets Group Marilyn Booker attends the NBA All-Star Bowling Classic at Lucky Strike LA Live on February 15, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
Marilyn Booker, Morgan Stanley’s former global diversity officer.

  • June: Marilyn Booker, Morgan Stanley’s first diversity officer, claimed in a racial-discrimination lawsuit that the bank retaliated against her and other Black female employees and eventually fired her for trying to make the bank’s workforce more diverse and inclusive. [The Washington Post]

The NCAA was sued by HBCU athletes who claimed the organization’s academic performance policies are biased against their schools.

GettyImages 624399734 MEMPHIS, TN - NOVEMBER 19: Troyce Manassa #4 of the Savannah State Tigers shoots a layup against the Memphis Tigers on November 19, 2016 at FedExForum in Memphis. Memphis defeated Savannah State 99-86. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)
Troyce Manassa, a former member of Savannah State University’s basketball team, sued the NCAA over racial bias.

  • December: Athletes from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) sued the National Collegiate Athletic Association, college sports’ governing body, claiming its academic performance standards — which are ostensibly meant to improve graduation rates — simply ended up discriminating against their schools, and thus disproportionately impacted Black student athletes. [NPR]

Oracle was sued in 2017 by female employees over gender pay disparities, and a court earlier this year opened the class action to more than 4,000 other current and former employees.

larry ellison oracle
  • May: Three female Oracle employees sued the company in 2017, claiming it paid women less than men, citing an economists’ study that found the pay gap averaged $13,000 per year. This year, a court granted the case class action status, opening the door for more than 4,000 current and former employees to join the suit. [The Mercury News]

Pinterest recently paid a former executive $22.5 million to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit and is facing another from shareholders over alleged racial and gender discrimination.

pinterest hq
A woman walks past sign at the headquarters of social network Pinterest in the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood of San Francisco, California, October 13, 2017.

  • August: Ex-Pinterest COO Françoise Brougher filed a gender-bias lawsuit against the company, claiming she faced pay discrimination and sexist behavior from other executives. Pinterest paid $22.5 million in December to settle the suit. [Business Insider]
  • December: Following Brougher’s lawsuit and explosive allegations by dozens of current and former employees, Pinterest shareholders sued the company, accusing it of harming investors by creating and perpetuating a culture of racial and sex discrimination. [Business Insider]

Uber was sued by a driver who claimed the company’s five-star rating system is racially biased.

A protester gestures as Uber and Lyft drivers drive through Beverly Hills on their way to demonstrate outside the recently purchased $72 million home of Uber co-founder Garrett Camp, to protest the first day of an "IPO cash out" in Beverly Hills, California on November 6, 2019. - The drivers claim that "executives are poised to cash out their IPO billions while at the same time continuing to drive down worker pay, leaving many drivers sleeping in their cars and unable to provide for their families". (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP) (Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)
An Uber driver protests outside the home of Uber co-founder Garrett Camp.

  • October: Thomas Liu, a former Uber driver, sued the company after it kicked him off the platform because his driver rating had fallen below a 4.6 out of 5. He claimed Uber’s use of the system amounted to “intentional race discrimination” because of the “widely recognized” notion that racism often slips into customers’ evaluations of workers. [Business Insider]

Warner Bros. was sued by a former executive who alleged she faced gender discrimination and harassment from men in the company’s senior ranks, which she called an “old boys club.”

GettyImages 136247596 The Warner Bros logo outside the Warner Bros Studio lot in Burbank, California, 30th September 2008. (Photo by Amy T. Zielinski/Getty Images)
  • October: An ex-Warner Bros. executive sued the company over gender discrimination, claiming she was fired in retaliation for raising complaints about sexist behavior and harassment by male executives. [Deadline]

WeWork was hit with at least three lawsuits from former employees alleging harassment, discrimination, and that a manager intimidated an employee by, among other things, bringing a crossbow and knives to work.

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  • July: WeWork became the subject of three new gender and race discrimination and harassment lawsuits this year, including from an employee who claimed her boss brought a crossbow and knives to work, implied he had connections to the Mafia, and made unwanted sexual advances. Two Black employees also said they were paid less than white coworkers and faced retaliation for raising issues, with one also saying she was sexually harassed. [Business Insider]

Are there other high-profile discrimination or harassment lawsuits that should be added to this list? Contact this reporter using a non-work device via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 503-319-3213, or by email at tsonnemaker@insider.com.

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Pinterest has paid $22.5 million to settle a gender discrimination suit from former executive Francoise Brougher, who claimed she was fired after speaking up

Francoise Brougher
Francoise Brougher, former COO of Pinterest, filed a lawsuit against the company in August. Now, it will pay $22.5 million to settle the claims.

  • Pinterest on Monday paid $22.5 million to end a lawsuit brought by Francoise Brougher, its former chief operating officer, who alleged gender discrimination.
  • Brougher claimed she was paid less than male colleagues and that she was excluded from meetings.
  • Pinterest admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement. It and Brougher will jointly donate $2.5 million of the settlement to programs supporting women and underrepresented communities in tech.
  • Brougher and her attorneys will receive $20 million.
  • “I’m glad Pinterest took this very seriously,” Brougher said in an interview with the Times. “I’m hoping it’s a first step in creating a better work environment there.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Social media platform Pinterest on Monday paid $22.5 million to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit brought by Francoise Brougher, its former chief operating officer.

After two years in the COO role, Brougher suddenly left Pinterest in April, without explanation. Four months later, she filed a lawsuit against the company in a San Francisco court, claiming she “was treated unfairly because of my gender.”

Brougher said in the lawsuit that she was paid less than her male peers, that the company excluded her from meetings, and that she wasn’t invited to attend the corporate road show in the runup to Pinterest’s IPO in 2019.

The photo-sharing site and Brougher said Monday they planned to jointly donate $2.5 million of the settlement to organizations that support women and underrepresented minorities in tech, with a focus on education, funding and advocacy, per The New York Times. The donations are expected to be made by the end of 2020.

Brougher and her attorneys will receive $20 million.

In the suit, Brougher, 55, claimed she was fired following a heated exchange with Pinterest’s chief financial officer, Todd Morgenfeld, about her treatment at the company.

The lawsuit said Morgenfeld made disparaging comments about her in front of colleagues and gave her feedback that she considered sexist, saying she wasn’t “collaborative enough.”

After she complained about Morgenfeld’s comments to the head of human resources, and to CEO Ben Silbermann, Brougher said Silbermann fired her over a video call.

A Pinterest spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that the company is investing $2.5 million in programs to advance women and underrepresented communities in tech.

The company admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement.

“Francoise welcomes the meaningful steps Pinterest has taken to improve its workplace environment and is encouraged that Pinterest is committed to building a culture that allows all employees to feel included and supported,” Pinterest said in a joint statement with Brougher.

“I’m glad Pinterest took this very seriously,” Brougher said in an interview with the Times. “I’m hoping it’s a first step in creating a better work environment there.”

Brougher is one of the most prominent female tech executives to file a gender discrimination lawsuit against a former company.

Pinterest’s feuds in 2020

This isn’t the first time Pinterest has been criticized for alleged discrimination in the workplace.

Pinterest shareholders sued the company, its top executives, and board of directors on December 2 over allegations of discrimination against women and employees of color.

The lawsuit claimed top executives failed to address claims of workplace bias by doing nothing to monitor unequal pay.

“Pinterest’s leadership and Board take their fiduciary duties seriously and are committed to continuing our efforts to help ensure that Pinterest is a place where all of our employees feel included and supported,” a Pinterest spokesperson told Business Insider at the time. They said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

In August, more than 200 Pinterest employees staged a virtual walkout and 450 signed an online petition demanding pay transparency and equality, and increased diversity in senior levels of the company.

Pinterest in August added its first two Black board members, hired a new head of diversity, and commissioned an independent review of its workplace culture.

Read more: Pinterest abandoned plans for a big new office project in San Francisco, but experts say staying in the city has several major advantages

In June, Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks, two Black women, publicly resigned from Pinterest. They said they faced retaliation and humiliation, and were passed over for promotion.

Pinterest told Business Insider: “We took these issues seriously and conducted a thorough investigation when they were raised, and we’re confident both employees were treated fairly. We want each and every one of our employees at Pinterest to feel welcomed, valued, and respected.”

It added that “we’re committed to advancing our work in inclusion and diversity by taking action at our company and on our platform. In areas where we, as a company, fall short, we must and will do better.” 

The same month, Business Insider talked to 11 former employees who said Pinterest was a toxic and difficult place to work. Some Black former employees who worked on Pinterest’s ad-sales team said they were fired or “pushed out” of the company without any explanation.

Other employees said they were yelled at by managers in front of colleagues, which made them feel humiliated and upset.

The same week, CEO Silbermann acknowledged that some of Pinterest’s “culture is broken” and said he was “embarrassed” that he didn’t understand the “depth of the hardship and hurt” employees went through.

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