Pay discrimination at Pinterest

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Ozoma asked her manager to address her level, but she says she was initially told that her current compensation package was the best the company could do. After months of trying to get her level changed, Ozoma finally hired a lawyer, who began to argue that she should have been hired at a level six, two rungs above the level four at which she was being paid. Once her lawyer got involved and began advocating for additional compensation, stock options, and back pay, Ozoma was told she didn’t have enough years of experience—a criteria that does not appear on the level chart, which Fast Company has confirmed. Ozoma describes the difference in compensation between these levels as “exponential,” especially because much of the pay package comes in the form of stock options—which quickly became very valuable when Pinterest IPOed in April 2019. In July 2019, she filed a complaint with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), alleging pay discrimination based on sex and race.

Discrimination charges at Pinterest reveal a hidden Silicon Valley hiring problem, Katharine Schwab in Fast Company