Allegations of gender discrimination in Silicon Valley are nothing new. High profile lawsuits have already been filed against several tech companies. Now a former Twitter employee has filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against her former employer.
Tina Huang began working for Twitter in 2009. It appears that she was an exemplary employee up until her 2014 resignation. Huang received sterling performance evaluations and received no disciplinary actions, yet she was not able to get a promotion to a senior management position.
Huang had an opportunity for promotion in 2013, but felt she had been passed over for the job for no discernible reason. She penned an email to Twitter CEO Dick Costolo outlining what she felt were discriminatory practices in the promotion process. In fact, as Huang alleges in her complaint, Twitter’s absence of any written policies regarding promotions makes it easy for discrimination to flourish. Twitter’s top three executives are male, and Huang came to believe that this male dominated hierarchy was creating a glass ceiling effect for female employees.
In the summer of 2014 Twitter released a diversity report stating that the overall makeup of its employees skewed heavily toward males at a ratio of 70:30. Their tech division, where Huang was employed, featured an even more unbalanced ratio at 90:10.
Huang’s complaint alleges that there is a “company-wide, pervasive problem of discrimination.” After she complained in an email to Costolo, projects were removed from her purview and she was put on leave. After three months of leave with no end in sight, Huang resigned her position.
Twitter executives note in statements to the media that Huang voluntarily resigned her position and was not terminated. They go on to state that they attempted to convince her to stay, but to no avail. Diversity studies aimed at dissolving barriers to the promotion of women in the company have already been conducted, suggesting that Twitter may be aware that it has an issue and is taking steps to correct it.