According to NBC News, Pinterest has settled a lawsuit brought against it by shareholders who claimed that the company’s workplace discrimination against women and racial minorities harmed its reputation. The company reportedly agreed to spend $50 million on improving diversity and equity, and former employees will be allowed to speak out about racial or gender discrimination they experienced, even if they were bound by a non-disclosure agreement. The settlement’s other financial details were not disclosed.
The lawsuit was filed against the company’s executives in November 2020, with shareholders claiming that the company was acting irresponsibly by doing nothing to address “widespread claims of race and gender discrimination.” The complaint also accused the company’s CEO of “surrounding himself with yes-men and marginalising women who dared to challenge Pinterest’s White, male leadership clique.”
Multiple women reported that Pinterest paid them less than male employees that year, and some reported racial discrimination and retaliation for speaking out. The Verge also reported on workplace discrimination within the company’s finance department. Separately, the company paid $20 million to former COO Françoise Brougher after she claimed that the company paid her less than male colleagues, did not invite her to important meetings, and fired her after she raised the issues.
Settlements, according to Brougher’s lawyer, can help companies avoid real accountability, even if they result in larger payouts and charitable donations. (Pinterest and Brougher agreed to donate over $2 million to charities that help women and minorities in technology.)