Sunday, 09 October 2016 00:02

Yahoo! chief Mayer sued over gender bias claims

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Yahoo! chief executive Marissa Mayer has been sued by a former senior executive of the company who has accused her of orchestrating a campaign to purge the organisation of male employees.

The suit was filed by Scott Ard in the federal district court in San Jose, according to a report in The Mercury News, a newspaper that covers the Bay Area of California.

Ard worked for Yahoo! for 3½ years and now works for the Silicon Valley Business Journal as its editor-in-chief.

In the suit, Ard said: "Mayer encouraged and fostered the use of (an employee performance-rating system) to accommodate management's subjective biases and personal opinions, to the detriment of Yahoo’s male employees."

He also claims that Yahoo! illegally fired a large number of workers using a performance-rating system devised by Mayer; this, the suit said, was not tied to gender.

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Marissa Mayer: more bad news.

The newspaper quoted Yahoo! spokesman Carolyn Clark as defending the firm's "fair" employment and performance review systems.

Apart from Mayer, the lawsuit also names Kathy Savitt, former chief marketing officer, and Megan Liberman, Yahoo! News editor-in-chief, who was vice-president of news at the time, as discriminating on the basis of gender.

Ard was hired in 2011 and fired in January 2015 during a phone call which was part of his performance review; the firing happened shortly after he was told by Savitt that his role as head of editorial programming for the Yahoo! home page was being given to a woman whom Liberman had hired, according to the lawsuit.

Yahoo!'s diversity reports indicate that women in leadership positions rose from 23% in 2014 to 24% in 2015, the newspaper said.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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