Lawsuit Alleges Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Led Discriminatory Purge Of Male Employees

Yahoo has recently been in the news for security breaches and invasions of user’s privacy. The company, however, has also experienced quite a bit of conflict from former employees. A recent lawsuit has accused Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Megan Liberman (editor-in-chief of Yahoo News), and Kathy Savitt (former chief marketing officer) of purposely firing male employees due to their gender.

The plaintiff is Scott Ard, now editor-in-chief of the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Ard served as head of editorial programming for Yahoo’s homepage for three and a half years. He stated that he had received “fully satisfactory” performance reviews until Liberman was hired.

yahoo headquarters

In June 2014, Ard was informed that his position was being given to a woman that Liberman had recently hired. Ard was fired at the beginning of January 2015 for not turning in a breakdown of his duties that he claimed he provided. He requested a copy of his performance review and said he wanted to appeal his termination. He was denied the copies and told to immediately leave the premises.

Ard asserts that Mayer’s performance review system “permitted and encouraged discrimination based on gender or any other personal bias held by management.” Ard also stated that Liberman lowered the scores of several men he evaluated while maintaining the scores for the women. He believes that many male Yahoo employees suffered from discrimination.

yahoo logo on glass

Kathy Savitt, former chief marketing officer, has been an active proponent of increasing the number of women in media. The lawsuit noted that when Kathy started, less than 20% of the top managers were female. That number has increased to over 80% percent. The lawsuit also remarked that of the sixteen senior-level editorial employees that Savitt hired or promoted within an eighteen-month period, fourteen of those positions were given to women.

Yahoo’s diversity report, however, argues that only 24% of the leadership positions in 2015 in the company were held by women. This was only a 1% increase from the previous year.

Yahoo spokeswoman Carolyn Clark maintained that, “Our performance-review process was developed to allow employees at all levels of the company to receive meaningful, regular and actionable feedback from others...Our performance-review process also allows for high performers to engage in increasingly larger opportunities at our company, as well as for low performers to be transitioned out.”