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Pinterest Settles Gender Discrimination Suit by Former COO for $22.5 Million

Françoise Brougher said she was let go after raising concerns about sexist workplace treatment

Social media site Pinterest has reached a $22.5 million dollar settlement with former chief operating officer Françoise Brougher, who sued the company in August for gender discrimination.

According to the New York Times, the settlement is one of the largest ever publicly awarded to a single individual. Per the terms of the agreement, Pinterest has not admitted any wrongdoing; Brougher and Pinterest will each donate $2.5 million to charities supporting women and minorities in the tech industry.

“Pinterest and Francoise Brougher have reached a settlement that includes an investment of $2.5 million to be used towards advancing women and underrepresented communities in the tech industry,” Pinterest and Brougher said in a joint statement provided to TheWrap. “Pinterest recognizes the importance of fostering a workplace environment that is diverse, equitable and inclusive and will continue its actions to improve its culture. 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.”

Brougher served as COO from 2018 until April, 2020. In her suit, filed in August, she said she was let go after speaking up about sexist treatment she experienced, which included “gendered feedback,” being excluded from top level meetings, and unequal pay. She described her experience in detail in a medium post published after she filed her suit.

The same week Brougher filed her lawsuit, several hundred Pinterest employees staged a virtual walkout in support.

A Pinterest spokesperson told TheWrap that among the steps it has taken:

* Tyi McCray has been named Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity

* Andrea Wishom and Salaam Coleman Smith have been appointed to Pinterest’s Board of Directors

* New requirements in the hiring process to improve diversity throughout the company including at senior levels have been implemented.

* Clearer goals to change representation in the content shown to Pinterest users have been created.

* Inclusion training for all employees has been revamped and expanded.

* An internal wiki has been created to create transparency about compensation, including how and why rates are determined, how the company judges competitive rates, and how salary increases and equity are merited.

* Announced plans to form an inclusion advisory council in partnership with the NAACP.