Pinterest has agreed to pay $22.5m (£16.9m) to settle a gender discrimination and retaliation case brought by its former chief operating officer, who claimed she was paid less than her male colleagues.
Françoise Brougher, who worked at the firm between 2018 and 2020 and oversaw a team of roughly 1,000 people, filed a lawsuit against the virtual pinboard company, accusing it of gender bias in its pay practices.
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She claimed she was repeatedly left out of important meetings and was later dismissed after she pushed for equal pay and raised concerns about sexist comments made by a colleague.
The social media company did not admit to any liability as part of the settlement, and both parties have agreed to donate $2.5m to charities that support women and underrepresented groups in technology.
In a joint statement, Brougher and Pinterest said: “Pinterest recognises the importance of fostering a workplace environment that is diverse, equitable and inclusive and will continue its actions to improve its culture. Françoise 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.”
Her complaint followed public statements from two black women on Pinterest’s policy team who said they had experienced racism and sexism while working at the company. Both said they were underpaid despite leading major initiatives at Pinterest, including banning anti-vax posts and putting an end to the promotion of plantation weddings.
Both women got less than a year’s severance pay when they left the company.
In June Pinterest said it had commissioned an independent review into its culture.