04/22/2015 // Keller Grover LLP // (press release)
San Francisco, CA— A lawsuit filed by a former female software engineer at Twitter has accused the social media network of gender bias when it comes to promotions within the company. The lawsuit was filed in the California Superior Court on March 19, 2015 and is seeking class-action status, reports San Francisco employment lawyer Eric Grover of the Keller Grover law firm.
The lawsuit charges Twitter with discriminatory promotion policies that has eliminated the possibility of equal job opportunities for qualified women within the company.
“About 30% of Twitter’s overall global workers are women. In technical jobs, that number drops to 10%. This is over a third less than the already dismal average percentage of women in technical positions in the broader Silicon Valley tech industry,” the lawsuit stated. “The lack of gender diversity is equally apparent at the top. About 79% of Twitter’s leadership team is male, which is again worse than the tech industry’s average rates. It was not until December, 2013 (and public criticism around the time of its initial public offering) that Twitter named a woman to its board of directors; she remains the only female director.”
The plaintiff, Tina Huang, claims that Twitter has secret management committees that make promotion decisions without posting job openings or conducting reviews. Huang began working for Twitter in 2009 at their San Francisco headquarters as a software engineer, Mashable.com reported. She alleges that there are no clear-cut criteria for advancement and that all promotions are made in an arbitrary way so that the process lends itself to bias. Google clearly makes the case that the hiring process and the marketing process in Silicon Valley is fraught with unconscious bias, as reported in a video on YouTube produced by Google Ventures at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLjFTHTgEVU#t=25. (NOTE-feature this video adjacent to the article.)
“Promotion into Twitter’s senior technical positions is based on subjective judgments, by committees that are comprised of and dependent on upper management at Twitter, and predominantly male. These judgments are tainted with conscious or unconscious prejudices and gender-based stereotypes, which explains why so few women employees at Twitter advance to senior and leadership positions,” the lawsuit charged.
Huang made a complaint to Twitter’s CEO, Dick Costolo, about the promotions process and was subsequently put on a three month leave while an investigation was conducted. Three months later Huang was still not provided with an update of the investigation, which prompted her to send in a letter of resignation (http://www.kellergrover.com/eeoc-workplace-retaliation-claims-reach-record-numbers_12800.html).
"Despite being one of Twitter’s oldest employees, Ms. Huang’s career at Twitter was irreparably derailed for making a complaint. After three months without explanation as to the status of the investigation, or mention of any possible time frame for her return to work, she felt she had no choice but to leave the company for the sake of her career. As a result, Ms. Huang emailed her resignation on May 21, 2014, effective June 4, 2014,” the lawsuit asserted.
“Taking actions, like Huang, who stood up and fought back against what she believed to be unfair employment practices, is exactly what you should do if you ever feel like your employment rights are being infringed upon,” says Grover. “It’s important to bring injustices to light and demand equality in the workplace. Otherwise female workers will continue to be subjected to discriminatory practices.”
The San Francisco employment attorneys of Keller Grover LLP have been helping victims of workplace discrimination fight for their rights since 2005. To learn more about employment laws and whether you’ve been a victim contact, Keller Grover at 888.601.6939.
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