Former Yahoo Inc. employee, Gregory Anderson, accused the technology giant of discriminating among male employees and implementing an unfair employee rating system.
As Marissa Mayer prepares to announce a streamlining plan that is expected to lay off 15 percent of Yahoo’s current employees, the former manager is challenging the entire system as discriminatory against males and a violation of federal and Californian state laws.
Anderson, a resident of Sunnyvale, California, was an editor for Yahoo’s auto, small business, homes and travel sites and was in the middle of finishing his fellowship at the University of Michigan when he was laid off by the company in November 2014.
The ex-employee said his female supervisors were aware of his plans to participate in the Knight-Wallace Fellowship and signed off on it after a lengthy approval process. Anderson said he had high employee rating when he left to pursue his fellowship program, so it was a blow to him when he heard he was being fired because the latest fall assessment placed him in the bottom 5 percentile of Yahoo’s employees.
In his lawsuit, Anderson filed two charges against Yahoo. He said when he worked as an employee at the tech company, female management used gender discriminatory policies that put male employees at a disadvantage. He also claims that Yahoo’s employee rating system led it to fire about 600 people, which according to Californian law is a mass lay-off and is subject to a 60-day notice period.
Yahoo did not provide any such notices to employees but between 2014 and 2015, in a period of just half a year, laid off over 1,100 employees for what they say, performance reasons. The cutbacks came soon after a report by Yahoo that revealed it workforce comprised less than 40 percent females, most of them in non-leadership roles.
After Anderson sued the company, Yahoo revealed it received a demand letter for $5 million from the litigant in the middle of January.
"They are posturing,” said Jon Parsons, Anderson’s attorney to the tech giant’s claim. “When you don’t have anything substantive to say about the facts, you try to discredit the plaintiff."
If Anderson wins his lawsuit, the company will have to pay all former employees $500 for each day it of the required notice period — plus, it will mark the start of a whole new era of a different type of gender discrimination.