CEOs demand North Carolina Gov. repeal anti-LGBT law

Signatures from over 80 CEOs adorn a high profile letter that has been addressed to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory. This letter, released by The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Equality NC, urges the Governor to repeal a recent law that will eliminate non-discrimination ordinances that protect the rights of LGBT people in the state of North Carolina. House Bill 2. H.B. 2 will force trans-gender students to use bathroom facilities that are inconsistent with their gender identity, which ultimately puts the school’s Title IX funding at risk. The legislation was hastily passed last Wednesday.

Several CEOs and high ranking executives are demanding that the Governor repeal this discriminatory bill. “Put simply, HB 2 is not a bill that reflects the values of our companies, of our country, or even the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians”, the letter states.

The letter goes on to deploy the actions of North Carolina’s lawmakers, and cites how destructive these far reaching actions can be. “Discrimination is wrong, and we believe it has no place in North Carolina or anywhere in our country. As companies that pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming to all, we strongly urge you and the leadership of North Carolina’s legislature to repeal this law in the upcoming legislative session.”

This comes just one day after Georgia Governor Nathan Deal vetoed a bill that was designed to allow businesses to legally discriminate against LGBT people on religious grounds. The veto came after Salesforce, along with other companies, threatened to stop doing business in the state.

The letter includes signatures from CEOs of high profile companies, many residing in Silicon Valley. The list of CEOs includes Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

Chad Griffin, president of the HRC and Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, will deliver the letter to McCrory’s office on Thursday morning and follow up with a request for the CEOs to meet with the Governor to discuss this matter further.

 

Article via TechCrunch, 29 March 2016

Photo: Pat McCrory by Hal Goodtree [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Yahoo sued for gender bias by male employee

Yahoo is being sued by a former employee that claims that he was discriminated against for being male.

Gregory Anderson, who was employed in Yahoo’s media division was fired in November 2014.  He filed a lawsuit against the tech giant, alleging the company’s performance management system was arbitrary and unfair. Anderson “alleges that Mayer encouraged and fostered the use of the QPR Program to accommodate management’s subjective biases and personal opinions, to the detriment of Yahoo’s male employees.”

The QPR Program at Yahoo is the controversial quarterly performance review program that ranks employees and then fires the lowest ranking ones. In the Media division, where Anderson was an editor, the complaint says that when male and female employees got equally low scores (anything under 3), the women were favored and the men were fired. What’s worse, in the case that both male and female employees got the same score, the men were fired and the female employee took over the male employees job.

This isn’t the first discrimination lawsuit to be tied to a stack ranking system. In the early 2000s, a cascade of cases against Ford, Goodyear, and Capital One, alleged that such systems led to age discrimination against older employees

The lawsuit also alleges that in addition to discriminating against men, Yahoo fires people without just cause and did not give 60 days’ notice to staff affected in mass layoffs. In California, layoffs are defined as terminating more than 50 people at one time, therefore not providing notice violates California law. In addition to the complaint about the way that people were fired, Anderson’s complaint also alleges that there was unfair gender based biased for hiring.  Former Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Savitt, almost exclusively hired women into management positions in Yahoo’s media division.

Under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and also California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, discrimination on the basis of sex is illegal. It doesn’t matter which gender the person happens to be.

“The Anderson lawsuit raises the question of how to correct lingering gender discrimination against women and suggests that the answer is not yet more illegal discrimination,” wrote Anderson’s attorney Jon Parsons in a statement about the lawsuit.

Article via Huffington Post, 4 February 2016

Photo: Yahoo! by Eric Hayes [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


LGBTQ Community Continue to Struggle in Society

Many Americans today fall into the misconception that the LGBTQ community no longer struggle with inequality.

Inequality remains an issue for the queer community as society continues to raise discussion pertaining to whether or not they should be segregated from the rest of the community. The recent legalization of same-sex marriage is a big step closer to being equal — but society fails to realize that there is more to equality than just granting permission to marry.

In more than half the states today, employers are still legally permitted to fire employees based on their sexuality. When surveyed, the crowd that claimed to support equality for all also contradicted themselves with their own conflicted beliefs.

“Although the other half of those surveyed believe everyone deserves lawful rights, regardless of sexuality or gender identity, many of those same people still maintain beliefs that perpetuate inequality of the queer community, according to findings.”

The reality of these injustice acts prove that LGBTQ activism still exists for a reason. Inequality for the queer community and other communities that are also facing social obstacles will not end until society works together to make a change.

 

Article via Mashable, 21 January 2016
Photo: Protesting Mayor Sullivan’s veto of AO 64 by Mel Green [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Sexual harassment in silicon valley

Sexual harassment in Silicon Valley has affected 60 percent of the senior women in technology, according a recent survey. The survey, Elephant in the Valley, surveyed more than 200 women of power and influence in the Bay Area. According to the respondents, nearly 60 percent of these women stated that they had received unwanted sexual advances in the workplace. 65 percent of those advances came from a superior, and 1 in 3 stated that the advances made them fear for their safety.

The authors of the survey wrote that they were inspired by the conversations generated by the Ellen Pao trial. Writing on their website the authors stated, “What we realized is that while many women shared similar workplace stories, most men were simply shocked and unaware of the issues facing women in the workplace. In an effort to correct the massive information disparity, we decided to get the data and the stories.”

Treo Vassallo, an investor and advisor who participated in the Ellen Pao trial was also one of the authors of the survey. She testified against Kleiner Perkins during the trial , vividly recalling her own experience being sexually harassed by a former partner at the VC firm. Afterwards, she stated that a large number of women approached her with their own horrifying stories of harassment. Moved by what she heard from others, Vassallo wanted to be a catalyst to continue to conversation and bring change.

Part of the problem could be that women are the minority in the tech world. Nearly 80 percent of reported sexual harassment crimes are committed by men against women, especially when men are senior to them. The purpose of this survey is to make these numbers more visible. The hope is that by bringing these stories to light, and exposing the data that has been collected, the male-dominated culture of sexual harassment will be tempered within the workplace.

 

Article via Cnet, 11 January 2016

Photo: Trae Vassallo, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers by Dow Jones Events [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Former Reddit CEO urges women and minorities to “Speak up” against discrimination

In March of 2015, Reddit’s former CEO Ellen Pao lost a widely publicized discrimination case against venture capital giant Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers. Despite the loss, Pao’s advice for tackling sexism and racism in Silicon Valley is to continue to “Speak up.”

Pao published an essay about her battles with discrimination in law and tech on Lena Dunham’s website Lenny.

“Unfortunately, some people just don’t treat men and women, white and minorities, heterosexuals and LGBTQs as equals. We could all work harder and better than everyone else, but we weren’t getting a fair shot to rise to the top,” Pao observed after entering the tech industry.

Yet, according to Pao, it’s (gradually) getting better. She cites women and minorities’ willingness to share “others’ bad behavior, data, and their own experiences publicly” as the main source of progress, and encourages people to continue to take part in public conversation about issues affecting them.

Pao’s high-profile discrimination case, though unsuccessful on surface-level, initiated conversations that lead companies like AppleGoogle and Twitter to actively pursue diversity in their workforces.

Reddit users complained that Pao was engaging in censorship when she shut down five forums associated with online harassment. After receiving a petition with over 200,000 signatures for her to step down, Pao resigned from her position of interim CEO.

“I was called the ‘most hated person on the Internet’; a recent article even called me a ‘pariah of Silicon Valley’,” Pao admits. In the face of such hostility, she continues to advocate boldness and offer solidarity: “Don’t be silent… You are not alone. There are millions of women and men who are supporting you and want you to succeed.”

Article via CNET, November 10, 2015

Photo: Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network 2014 – Austin via Dell Inc. [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Microsoft sued for gender discrimination

Former technician Katherine Moussouris sued Microsoft this Wednesday for gender discrimination. She alleges that Microsoft paid and promoted female employees less than male coworkers, and that women in the company were also ranked consistently below men. Moussouri proposed the class action lawsuit after working at Microsoft between 2007 and 2014.

The lawsuit states that the tech company’s practices and policies “systematically violate female technical employees’ rights and result in unchecked gender bias that pervades its corporate culture.”

This suit occurs as other tech giants, recently Twitter and Facebook, also battle gender discrimination lawsuits. Public interest in women’s role in the workplace has increased since Ellen Pao filed a high-profile lawsuit against the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers for unequal treatment on the basis of gender.

Microsoft released a statement in response to Moussouri’s allegations: “We’re committed to a diverse workforce, and to a workplace where all employees have the chance to succeed.”

 

Article via CNET, 16 September 2015

Photo: Microsoft via Thomas Hawk [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]