Following a lawsuit led by the General Treasurer of Rhode Island, social media company Pinterest has announced that it will be enacting a series of new diversity, equity and inclusion workplace reforms to settle a recent lawsuit against them.
Patrick Anderson of The Providence Journal reported that “the reforms are valued at $50 million and resolve shareholder complaints that Pinterest’s Board of Directors failed to respond to allegations of discrimination against women and people of color working at the company.”
In a statement, Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner said the case was the “first of its kind to embrace diversity goals around a company’s product.”
“The proposed settlement calls for sustained efforts by Pinterest that will put DEI at the forefront of its internal goals and business operations,” Magaziner said. “Additionally, it will resolve this highly contested, complex derivative action while delivering long-term meaningful benefits to Pinterest and its stockholders.”
As part of the settlement, Pinterest executives have agreed that the company will perform regular pay-equity assessments and work to make its platform user experience more inclusive. The company will also ensure new “executive accountability for DEI culture” and will release all former employees who made race or gender discrimination claims from their existing nondisclosure agreements.
According to Anderson, Pinterest’s “discriminatory [workplace] practices came under scrutiny after two Black female members of the company’s public policy team publicly criticized the treatment of employees.”
Magaziner said he hoped the DEI initiatives that stemmed from the lawsuit would make Pinterest more profitable in the end and help to raise its stock price — efforts that would justify the time and energy attorneys for the state put into the case.
“We pushed for these sweeping reforms to support Pinterest’s employees with a fair and safe workplace, and to strengthen the company’s brand and performance by ensuring that the values of inclusiveness are made central to Pinterest’s identity,” Magaziner said.
This case wasn’t the first against the company when it came to needed DEI reform. In 2020, Pinterest was forced to pay a $22-million settlement in a gender-discrimination lawsuit involving its former COO.