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Verdicts & Settlements

Pinterest Settles Shareholder Discrimination Lawsuit

— November 27, 2021

Pinterest said that it will pledge $50 million to programs aimed at improving diversity within its own ranks.

Pinterest has settled a shareholder lawsuit alleging that the social media company’s top-level management fostered a culture of discrimination.

According to NBC News, the financial details of the settlement are not publicly available.

However, the agreement between Pinterest and the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island will require that Pinterest release former workers from non-disclosure agreements in the event they suffered race- or gender-based discrimination.

NBC News notes that San Francisco-based Pinterest will also pledge $50 million into programs intended to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion within the company.

“We pushed for these sweeping reforms to support Pinterest’s employees with a fair and safe workplace, and to strengthen the company’s brand and performance by ensuring that the values of inclusiveness are made central to Pinterest’s identity,” Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner said in a statement.

A gavel. Image via Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/user: Brian Turner. (CCA-BY-2.0).

Pinterest told NBC News that, since the shareholder lawsuit was filed, it has worked to resolve the Employees Retirement System’s complaints.

“We’ve reached a resolution with certain shareholders who raised concerns and filed derivative lawsuits concerning the allegations made last year about the company’s culture. Since that time, we have been working hard to ensure that our culture reflects our goals and values and today’s resolution, including the earmarking of $50 million in diversity, equity, and inclusion, reinforces our unwavering commitment,” a Pinterest spokesperson said in a statement.

NBC News recalls how many of the reforms target problems identified by Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks.

Ozoma, a Black woman who worked in Pinterest’s public policy and social impact section, said a White male colleague had published her personal information online after she suggested adding advisory warnings to content from conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro.

Banks, adds NBC News, is Black and Japanese. She claimed that her manager lied when negotiating her salary, and made disparaging remarks about her ethnicity in front of other colleagues.

Both Ozoma and Banks say they did the same amount of work as their managers, but made significantly less money.

Several months after Ozoma and Banks leveled their accusations against Pinterest, the company’s Chief Operating Office, Francoise Brougher, filed a lawsuit against the company.

In her complaint, Brougher said she was given “gendered feedback” and was paid less money than her male counterparts.

After the women’s complaints attracted public scrutiny, the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island filed its shareholder lawsuit against Pinterest.

According to the original filing, the System said that Pinterest executives had breached their fiduciary duty by “perpetrating or knowingly ignoring the long-standing and systemic culture of discrimination and retaliation at Pinterest.”

Ozama told NBC News that she is happy that her complaint helped lead to reform.

“This is incredible for former and current employees, and it’s what I’ve been fighting for since the bill was introduced in February, in regards to releasing former employees from nondisclosure agreements,” Ozoma said.


Pinterest settles lawsuit that alleged racial and gender discrimination

Pinterest settles shareholder lawsuit over workplace culture

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