Pinterest shares tumbled to a two-month low on Friday, with a double-digit percentage decline induced by a quarterly loss in active users on the social media site as easing of COVID-19 restrictions led more people to engage in other activities.
Shares of Pinterest plunged 19% to a session low of $58.13, the lowest price since May 19. The stock this year has lost roughly 11% but has shot up by 71% over the past 12 months.
Pinterest late Thursday reported second-quarter adjusted earnings and revenue well ahead of Wall Street’s targets. But the company, whose online platform allows people to save and share pictures and videos, posted a 5% decline in monthly active users, to 454 million from 478 million in the first quarter.
The decline has stretched into this month, with US monthly active users down by 7% as of July 27. Global active users, meanwhile, have increased by 5% year over year.
A ramp-up in COVID-19 vaccinations this year has led more businesses to reopen their doors, pulling attention away from Pinterest’s site.
“Since mid-March, however, we believe engagement on Pinterest was disproportionately lower as people began spending more time socializing with friends outside their homes, eating in restaurants, and generally participating in activities that are not our core use cases,” the company said in its letter to stakeholders.
The company said it wouldn’t provide third-quarter guidance on monthly active users because it lacks visibility into some key drivers of engagement as the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions evolve. Coronavirus cases recently have been rising in all 50 states because of the highly transmissible Delta strain.
For the second quarter, Pinterest swung to adjusted earnings of $0.25 a share, trouncing the FactSet estimate of $0.13 cents a share. Total revenue more than doubled to $613.2 million on stronger demand from large retail advertisers and growth internationally, outstripping the $562 million estimate from FactSet.
Pinterest’s CEO is pledging to hire more people of color and female executives by 2025 in an attempt to create a more diverse and inclusive company following years of complaints from employees and a multi-million discrimination settlement.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Wednesday, CEO Ben Silbermann, in response to a $22 million settlement the company reached with a former executive last year, said: “What can come out of that is learning what we need to do better and making changes … I’m trying to personally set that better tone.”
Insider previously reported that former COO Francoise Brougher settled a gender discrimination lawsuit with the company in December of 2020 for $22.5 million after Silbermann fired her for not being “collaborative.” Brougher told Insider at the time that Pinterest was very aware of her “forthright personality” after going through six months of personality evaluations before receiving the job.
At the time, Pinterest said it “recognizes the importance of fostering a workplace environment that is diverse, equitable and inclusive and will continue its actions to improve its culture,” Insider reported.
In another instance, two female black employees – Aerica Shimizu Banks and Ifeoma Ozoma – were promised easy upward mobility, senior ranks, and fair salaries by recruiters for “just killing it,” Insider previously reported. But once hired, the women found themselves met with no career growth, “unfair pay, intense discrimination, and terrifying retaliation,” Banks told Insider.
According to Insider’s Julie Bort and Taylor Nicole Rogers, “both women filed separate complaints with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. They quit the company in May of 2020. In June, after seeing Pinterest’s statement of support for Black Lives Matters and its donations, they spoke up on Twitter.” Those tweets proceeded to garner national attention after going viral.
“I want a place where we have diverse perspectives,” Silbermann told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s not only the right thing to do, I think it’ll make our business stronger.”
Marie Andel, Pinterest’s head of human resources, told Insider that, in the first quarter of 2021, 50% of its employees were female. She also said the company has partnered with external organizations to recruit and hire more engineers of color and increase diverse representation within its hiring processes.
“In the past year, we’ve looked at three very important areas to improve: pay equity and transparency, designing processes to effectively address and resolve employee concerns and expanding educational offerings to ensure everyone understands their role in building an inclusive culture,” Andel said. “We believe every employee should feel safe, championed and empowered to raise any concerns about their work experience and have new systems in place to allow this.”
Salesforce has reportedly dropped plans to lease 325,000 square feet of office space in San Francisco.
The cloud computing giant, which is headquartered in the tallest tower in San Francisco and is the city’s largest employer, had previously signed a deal in 2018 for additional office space in the new Transbay Tower development, an unbuilt tower about a block away.
The company planned to house 1,500 workers at the new tower, a portion of the 10,000 employees it has spread throughout its urban campus.
The decision follows Salesforce’s announcement last month that it would adopt three new ways of working going forward. The new guidelines, which Salesforce is calling “Work From Anywhere,” offer employees options for how they’ll work in the future: flex, fully remote, and office-based.
Salesforce said most of its employees worldwide would have a flex schedule, which means they’ll report to the office between one and three days each week for tasks that are more challenging to do over video calls, such as team collaboration, customer meetings, and presentations.
The company has shared few details about what this will mean for its physical office spaces – in a blog post announcing the change, Brent Hyder, the president and chief people office of Salesforce, shared only that the offices would be redesigned as “community hubs” with collaboration and breakout spaces instead of rows of desks.
At the end of 2020, Pinterest launched a new feature called Story Pins. If you’re familiar with Instagram Stories, the concept is fairly similar, with the added twist of being pin-able.
Currently, Story Pins are only available for Pinterest business accounts, and you need to request access in order to create them. Here’s a step-by-step process on how that works.
Once you’ve been approved to use Story Pins, you can create them in the “Create” tab the same way you would any other Pin, but with the added advantage of being able to combine multiple images, videos, and text to promote your business in creative and unique ways. Play around with it and see what suits your business best.
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.
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.
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 email@example.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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.