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Pinterest Subject of Sexism Claims

Françoise Brougher formerly worked as the chief operating officer at Pinterest. She was the company’s top female executive before leaving in April. In a lawsuit filed this month, Brougher has accused the company of terminating her employment after she complained about sexist treatment. In that suit, she alleges that she was paid less than her male peers upon her hire, was given “gendered” feedback, and was let go after she spoke up about it. Brougher came to Pinterest in 2018 with about half of the employees reporting to her. In 2019, when the company went public, Brougher first learned that she was paid less than her male peers and non-salary aspects of her compensation would vest later than that of her male peers. Pinterest did adjust her compensation after she complained. Brougher also asserts that she was not invited to speak to investors regarding Pinterest’s initial public offering nor was she invited to the board meetings that other members of her team were invited to join. Brougher believes that she was consistently excluded from meetings that were necessary for the optimal performance of her job. She brought her concerns to the chief financial officer Todd Morgenfeld, who was purportedly not receptive nor allegedly was Ben Silbermann, the CEO. According to the suit, she was fired after a heated conversation with Morgenfeld.

In an interview, Brougher stated that “Gender discrimination at the C-level suite may be a little more subtle, but it’s very insidious and real. When men speak out, they get rewarded. When women speak out, they get fired.” At the time the New York Times reported on the lawsuit, Pinterest had not issued a comment. However, the company did state that it intended to complete an independent review of its culture, policies, and practices.

In June, some Black employees criticized Pinterest, accusing the company of race discrimination. Two of those employees tweeted racist and sexist comments that they had been subjected to at the company.