December 02, 2020

Pinterest shareholders have sued the company, as well as its top executives and board of directors, accusing them of harming investors by creating and perpetuating a culture of racial and sex discrimination.

"Pinterest's executives and board members personally engaged in, facilitated or knowingly ignored the discrimination and retaliation against those who spoke up and challenged the Company's White, male leadership clique," according to the complaint.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in a federal district court in California by the Employees' Retirement System of Rhode Island (ERSRI), which manages $8.5 billion in assets on behalf of around 60,000 current and retired state employees.

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann, CFO Todd Morgenfeld, and chief design officer Evan Sharp are named as defendants in the lawsuit, as are board members Jeffrey Jordan, Jeremy Levine, Gokul Rajaram, Fredric Reynolds, Michelle Wilson, and Leslie Kilgore (Silbermann and Sharp serve on the board as well).

The lawsuit alleges that Pinterest's executives and board members breached their fiduciary duty to investors by failing to address claims of illegal workplace bias even when presented with evidence.

Silbermann "repeatedly placed himself before the Company, surrounding himself with yes-men and marginalizing women who dared to challenge Pinterest's White, male leadership clique," according to the complaint.

The lawsuit claims that Wilson and Kilgore, both members of the board's compensation committee, did nothing to monitor for unequal pay, despite knowing at least since March 2019 about employees' claims of unequal pay. It claims they allowed "alleged perpetrators to investigate their own alleged misconduct and did nothing to ensure that the discriminatory practices ended."

According to the complaint, chief design officer Sharp was told of multiple complaints from employees of color about Pinterest's legal and HR department, "but did nothing."

"Pinterest's leadership and Board take their fiduciary duties seriously and are committed to continuing our efforts to help ensure that Pinterest is a place where all of our employees feel included and supported," a Pinterest spokesperson told Business Insider, adding that the company doesn't comment on pending litigation.

The complete article can be viewed here.