The messages used phrases like disenchanted, disheartened, angered, upset, ashamed, pissed off, infuriated, disillusioned, deeply saddened and disturbed. On Friday, 236 staff of Pinterest, an organization identified for its digital pinboards, expressed solidarity on an inside chat app with three former co-workers who’ve accused the corporate of racial and intercourse discrimination and retaliation.
Many of the staff additionally shared and signed a web-based petition calling on Ben Silbermann, Pinterest’s chief govt and co-founder, to alter the corporate’s insurance policies.
Then they logged off, staging a digital walkout.
The sequence of actions have been the newest in a rising worker motion of discrimination lawsuits, harassment accusations and walkouts over injustices throughout the tech trade and the buyers who fund it.
The Pinterest accusations stand out as a result of they embrace a number of the highest-ranking executives on the $21 billion firm. In a lawsuit this week, Françoise Brougher, Pinterest’s former chief working officer, accused the corporate of intercourse discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination. When she spoke up a few sexist comment from a colleague, she was fired, the lawsuit alleges. She adopted the swimsuit with a prolonged weblog publish, “The Pinterest Paradox: Cupcakes and Toxicity,” which was extensively shared in tech circles.
A Pinterest spokeswoman stated in an announcement in response to the walkout that the corporate revered and heard the staff and would guarantee an open dialogue with them.
“We know we have real work to do and recognize that it’s our job to build a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for everyone,” she stated.
Scrutiny of Pinterest’s therapy of its employees started in June when two former staff, Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks, spoke out on Twitter about their experiences at the company, describing racist and sexist comments, pay inequities, and retaliation. They had left the company in May and spoke up after Pinterest expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
“As a Black woman, seeing @Pinterest’s middle of the night ‘Black employees matter’ statement made me scratch my head after I just fought for over a full year to be paid and leveled fairly,” Ms. Ozoma tweeted. A petition asking Pinterest to pay its Black employees fairly reached 25,000 signatures.
In response, Pinterest hired a consultant to review the company’s culture, policies and practices. After Ms. Brougher sued, a Pinterest spokeswoman said it was reviewing the suit and took all concerns raised seriously.
Unlike some of its peers in Silicon Valley, Pinterest, which caters to a majority female audience, is not known for having a hard-charging “bro” culture. Mr. Silbermann is an introvert who avoids press hype. One of Pinterest’s stated values is “knitting,” which it uses to mean collaboration.
But being known for having a “nice” culture has not made Pinterest immune to the issues of pay disparities and other discrimination that have plagued the tech industry.
“The reason I spoke up and put my name on the record is because, in that culture, it’s so difficult to do that and I knew how important it would be in allowing other people to speak up,” Ms. Ozoma said in an interview on Friday, noting that she supported the employee walkout “wholeheartedly.”
Ms. Brougher said in an interview this week that she hoped her lawsuit could help women in similar situations. On Friday she tweeted: “I stand in solidarity with the Pinterest employees participating in today’s walkout. When we speak out, we create change!”
The petition asks Pinterest to provide full transparency about promotion levels, retention and pay. It also asked Pinterest to ensure that the two layers of management that report to the chief executive were made up of 25 percent women and 8 percent underrepresented minorities.