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A shareholder derivative lawsuit has been filed against social media company Pinterest Inc. and its directors over its treatment of three former female senior executives, two of whom are Black.
The lawsuit, The Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island v. Benjamin Silbermann et al., which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, charges that the San Francisco-based company’s top executives and its 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.” The lawsuit was first reported by the D&O Diary.
The lawsuit cites former Chief Operating Officer Francoise Brougher, the company’s top female executive before her termination.
Also named in the suit are two former Black female company officials, Ifeoma Uzoma, formerly Pinterest public policy and social impact manager, and Aerica Shimizu Banks, formerly its head of federal affairs, who were allegedly forced to leave the company and publicly complained about Pinterest after their departure.
All three have filed their own suits against the company.
The lawsuit charges the defendants with breach of fiduciary duty, waste of corporate assets and violations of the federal securities law and seeks damages and attorneys’ fees.
The company said in a statement its 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.
“We believe the actions we’ve initiated as well as the ongoing independent review regarding our culture, policies, and practices will help us achieve our goal of building a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for everyone.”
In September, Alphabet Inc. settled a shareholder lawsuit that accused the Google parent of paying lavish exit packages to executives found responsible for sexual misconduct, saying it would increase oversight of its diversity and equity efforts.
Two recent multimillion-dollar settlements of shareholder derivative lawsuits are expected to lead to more litigation and even larger settlements.