Following damning allegations of gender discrimination that surfaced in a lawsuit filed earlier this week by the company’s former chief operating officer, Françoise Brougher, it appears Pinterest employees are organising a walkout tomorrow, Aug. 14.
The Washington Post’s Nitasha Tiku on Thursday tweeted links to a pair of sites about the action, a website at the domain ChangeatPinterest.com and a Coworker.org petition calling for “an end to all forms of discrimination and retaliation at Pinterest.” The website states that while employees of the company believe that Ben Silbermann, Pinterest’s chief executive, “is a good person trying to do the right thing,” numerous allegations of racial and gender discrimination at the company have surfaced a need for systemic change.
Former Pinterest employees Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks both came forward prior to Brougher’s lawsuit this week and said they experienced racial discrimination while at the company. Those allegations were reported on by the Post in June, shortly after both decided to leave the company. Now, employees are organising several initiatives aimed at creating a better and more equitable workplace, actions that include the Friday walkout scheduled for 1 p.m. PT.
A Pinterest spokesperson told Gizmodo in a statement by email that the company’s leadership and employees “have a shared goal of building and fostering a company we can all be proud of.
“We know we have real work to do and recognise that it’s our job to build a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for everyone,” the spokesperson said. “We respect and hear the employees who want to see a clear commitment to action, and we will ensure an open dialogue that leads to progress to make Pinterest the place we all know it can be.”
In their petition, addressed to Silbermann, employees are calling for transparency about promotion and retention data; transparency related to compensation packages; and a “commitment to a diversity goal for the third layer reporting to the CEO.”
“These are not isolated cases,” the petition states of the former employees who alleged gender and racial discrimination at Pinterest. “Instead, they are representative of an organizational culture that hurts all Pinterest workers, and keeps us from achieving our mission of bringing everyone the inspiration to create a life they love. We recognise that Pinterest has been a leader in diversity and inclusive hiring, with the diversity goals for new hires. It’s become clear that this is not enough, and that the diversity goals need to apply from the top down, not just the bottom up.”