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Pinterest Settles Gender Discrimination, Retaliation Suit for $22.5M

— December 16, 2020

Earlier this week, Pinterest announced a $22.5 million settlement with former employee Francoise Brougher.

Earlier this month, Pinterest agreed to pay $22.5 million to settle a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by Francoise Brougher, a former chief operating officer. According to the agreement, the settlement includes a $2.5 million investment “to be used towards advancing women and underrepresented communities in the tech industry.” However, Pinterest will not admit liability as part of the agreement.

A joint statement from the company and Brougher said:

“Pinterest recognizes the importance of fostering a workplace environment that is diverse, equitable and inclusive and will continue its actions to improve its culture…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.”

The recent settlement brings an end to a very high-profile case in Silicon Valley, but why was it filed in the first place? What happened?

Image of a Workplace Discrimination Graphic
Workplace Discrimination Graphic; image courtesy of mohamed_hassan via Pixabay,

According to the suit, which was filed in San Francisco County Superior Court, Brougher accused the popular website of “brazenly firing her after she complained about gender bias. The suit stated:

“Whereas male executives were rewarded for strong leadership styles, Ms. Brougher was criticized for not being compliant or collaborative enough…In addition, Ms. Brougher was offered a less favorable compensation structure than her male peers and had to fight for equal treatment.”

Additionally, the suit argues Brougher was terminated over a “video call by Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann after complaining to him and the head of human resources that the company’s chief financial officer, Todd Morgenfeld, made demeaning sexist comments toward her.” On top of that, she alleged the company “tried to create a fiction that her April 2020 departure was voluntary.

When pressed for comment on the matter, a spokeswoman for Pinterest said the company was “committed to ensuring all of our employees feel included and supported.” However, in September, Pinterest denied the accusations in Brougher’s suit.

In a tweet posted Monday, Brougher said “she will continue to advocate for workplace equity, including more women in the C-suite.”

Brougher’s suit wasn’t the only one Pinterest grappled with this year, though. In fact, around the same time Brougher filed her complaint, two former black employees accused the company of racism and discrimination. As a result, the company ended up hiring an outside legal team to “examine its workplace culture in response to the accusations.” At the time, the company said the outside law firm “would review how Pinterest evaluates, promotes, and compensates employees and how the company responds to and investigates complaints of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.”


Pinterest settles gender discrimination lawsuit with former exec for $22.5 million

Pinterest to pay $22.5 million to settle former executive’s discrimination suit

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