Pinterest to Pay Out $22.5M to Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Pinterest settled a gender discrimination lawsuit filed against the company in August by former chief operating officer Françoise Brougher, agreeing to pay $20 million to Brougher, as well as to commit $2.5 million toward “advancing women and underrepresented communities in the technology industry.”

The company disclosed the settlement in a Form 8-K filed Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, adding that it expects the settlement to count against its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2020.

Pinterest did not admit to any liability as part of the settlement.

Brougher, who left the company in April, filed suit against her former employer in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco, alleging that she was unlawfully terminated for bringing up issues, including sexist comments directed toward her, to chief human resources officer Jo Dennis and co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann.

Brougher also shared a lengthy post on Medium, outlining her gripes with Pinterest in exhaustive detail.

She wrote, “Although 70% of Pinterest’s users are women, the company is steered by men with little input from female executives. Pinterest’s female executives, even at the highest levels, are marginalized, excluded and silenced. I know because until my firing in April, I was Pinterest’s chief operating officer.”

Pinterest and Brougher issued a joint statement that 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. 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.”

And Brougher said in an interview with Erin Griffith of The New York Times, “I’m glad Pinterest took this very seriously. I’m hoping it’s a first step in creating a better work environment there. My goal was about accountability and driving change. Sharing the settlement publicly helps raise awareness more broadly.”

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