Social media company Pinterest has agreed to settle a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by its former chief operating officer, Francoise Brougher, for $22.5 million.
The settlement includes $2.5 million for use in “advancing women and underrepresented communities in the tech industry.”
In August, in a lawsuit filed in San Francisco County Superior Court, Brougher alleged that she was “brazenly fired” from the company after in a video call with chief executive officer Ben Silbermann after she complained that the company’s chief financial officer, Todd Morgenfeld, made “demeaning sexist comments” toward her.
“Whereas male executives were rewarded for strong leadership styles, Ms. Brougher was criticized for not being compliant or collaborative enough,” the lawsuit said. “In addition, Ms. Brougher was offered a less favorable compensation structure than her male peers and had to fight for equal treatment.” She also called the company’s attempt to portray her departure in April 2020 as voluntary a “fiction.”
In a joint statement on Twitter, Brougher and Pinterest 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.”
Pinterest did not admit to liability.
In June, Pinterest hired the law firm WilmerHale to conduct a “comprehensive and independent review of our policies and practices concerning discrimination, harassment, and other workplace issues” after two former employees, public policy and social impact managers Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks, said they faced abuse and discrimination at the company before they quit. It also said it would review how it evaluates, promotes and compensates employees and how it responds to complaints.
In the statement, Brougher said she, “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.”