Pinterest, former COO reach $22.5M settlement in gender discrimination case

Francoise Brougher says she was fired for speaking up about discrimination and misogyny at the company.

Abrar Al-Heeti Technology Reporter
Abrar Al-Heeti is a technology reporter for CNET, with an interest in phones, streaming, internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. She's also worked for CNET's video, culture and news teams. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
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Pinterest and its former COO have reached a settlement agreement.

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Pinterest has agreed to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit for $22.5 million, according to a filing Monday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The settlement comes after former chief operating officer Francoise Brougher sued the company in August for allegedly excluding her from important decisions after refusing to "take a back seat to her male peers." Brougher, who worked as COO for two years, said she was terminated for objecting to demeaning and sexist treatment.

"Pinterest recognizes the importance of fostering a workplace environment that is diverse, equitable and inclusive and will continue its actions to improve its culture," a joint statement by Pinterest and Brougher reads. "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." 

As part of the settlement, a payment of $20 million will go to Brougher and her attorneys, and an investment of $2.5 million will be "used towards advancing women and underrepresented communities in the technology industry," according to the filing. 

Silicon Valley companies have long grappled with allegations of gender bias and discrimination. In June, two former Pinterest employees, both Black women, said they experienced racial discrimination and faced retaliation after raising concerns about unfair pay in the workplace. Other companies, including FacebookTwitterUber and venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, have also been accused of gender discrimination.