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Yahoo's Mayer sued for allegedly forcing out male employees

The company says it stands by its process for employee performance reviews.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has had a rough few weeks.

Kimberly White, Getty Images for Fortune

The troubles just keep piling up for Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.

Former Yahoo executive Scott Ard filed a lawsuit against Mayer and two other executives, alleging they led a campaign to unfairly cull male employees from the company. The suit also claims Mayer fired a large number of workers based on a performance-rating system she imposed, according to the San Jose Mercury News. (Before he was at Yahoo, Ard served in a number of roles at CNET and CNET News, including editor in chief.)

The lawsuit comes at a bad time for Yahoo. Earlier this week, it was reported that the US government had Yahoo snoop through its users' email for intelligence-related data. Last month, the company disclosed that hackers had accessed the personal information of at least half a billion email accounts. Verizon now has reportedly asked for a $1 billion discount on its pending acquisition of the company.

Yahoo dismissed the lawsuit.

"This lawsuit has no merit," Yahoo spokeswoman Carolyn Clark said in a statement.

The suit also calls out an employee review process that has drawn criticism in the past. The system, instituted by Mayer, has managers give workers individual rankings. This isn't the first time Yahoo has faced a lawsuit related to the system. Earlier this year, another male employee sued Yahoo for gender discrimination.

On Friday, Yahoo defended the fairness of its review process.

"Our performance review process was developed to allow employees at all levels of the company to receive meaningful, regular, and actionable feedback from others," Clark said. "Our performance review process also allows for high performers to engage in increasingly larger opportunities at our company, as well as for low performers to be transitioned out."

The lawsuit dovetails with a broader discussion in Silicon Valley about the representation of women in the tech field. The company's 2015 diversity report showed that 24 percent of its leadership team was made up of women, up a percentage point from a year earlier.

Ard, editor in chief of the Silicon Valley Business Journal, couldn't be reached for comment.

CNET Senior Reporter Richard Nieva contributed to this story.

The story was originally published at 7:49 a.m. PT.
Updates, 3:54 p.m. and 4:23 p.m. PT:
To include an additional statement from Yahoo and add more background.