Pinterest Pays $20 Million to End Discrimination Suit by Ex-COO

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Pinterest Inc. paid $20 million to settle a legal case with Francoise Brougher, its former chief operating officer, who alleged gender discrimination.

The company is also investing $2.5 million in programs to improve representation in the technology industry, a Pinterest spokeswoman confirmed. It 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.

Brougher alleged that she was fired for speaking out about discrimination. The executive also said she was paid less than male peers and was left out of Pinterest’s initial public offering process despite her role as the No. 2 executive. She portrayed Chief Executive Officer Ben Silbermann as a leader who relied on the same group of men to make decisions and did not listen to different voices.

She had previously said she was prepared to take the case to trial. “While I was given a seat at the table, I had no power or I was not empowered to use my talent to drive Pinterest forward,” she said in August.

Brougher was encouraged to come forward after public statements by two Black women who left important jobs on Pinterest’s policy team in late May. The women, Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks, also said they were underpaid and had their discrimination concerns dismissed by the company’s human resources department. Pinterest has said it investigated those cases and found no wrongdoing.

Since then, Pinterest has added more diverse directors to its board and taken steps to improve its process for hiring and compensating employees.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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