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Why A Man Is Suing Yahoo For Sexism

Marissa Mayer, chief executive officer of Yahoo! Inc., pauses during a session on day two of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers attend the 45th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos from Jan. 21-24. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A man is suing Yahoo for gender discrimination — and his claim might not be as absurd as it sounds.

Discriminating against men just because they’re male is as illegal as discrimination against women for being female. That’s not this lawsuit’s only point: it also drags out some dirty laundry regarding Yahoo’s controversial quarterly performance reviews. This is just the latest in a barrage of bad news for the beleaguered tech giant.

Gregory Anderson, who was employed in Yahoo’s media division until he was fired in November 2014, filed a lawsuit against the tech giant, alleging the company’s performance management system was arbitrary and unfair. Yahoo used a numeric ranking system to evaluate employees’ quarterly performance and often fired those with the lowest scores, according to the suit. The complaint also says female managers at the company discriminated against men in their hiring and firing practices.

In this case, 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.” For example, 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 was not good), the women were favored and the men were fired:

…a female employee in the Media Org received the same 1.8 “Occasionally Misses” Employee Score as a male, after which the male was immediately terminated and the same female assumed the terminated male employee’s position. Moreover, this female employee was allowed to appeal her rating whereas the terminated male was denied an opportunity to appeal.”
The complaint also says that one executive, former Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Savitt, almost exclusively hired women into management positions in Yahoo’s media division.

…when Savitt began at Yahoo the top managers reporting to her in the Media Org, including the chief editors of the 12 magazines (many of which were formerly called “verticals”), were less than 20% female. Three years later those top managers were more than 80% female. At the time that this percentage of female managers reporting to Savitt increased so dramatically, the number of female reporters and presenters in the industry generally declined by 10 percentage points.
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 fired in mass layoffs, defined as terminating more than 50 people at one time, in violation of California law.

In the complaint, Anderson says he was one of 600 people laid off in November 2014. He received the news while on official leave to complete a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan. He was attending the program as a journalist representing Yahoo, according to the filing.

It may seem silly that a man is suing Yahoo for discriminating against him, given the widespread belief that men generally have enormous advantages finding and keeping employment in the tech industry, but as a matter of law it’s not crazy. 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.

“Generally anti-discrimination law protects everyone based on protected characteristics,” Joanna Grossman, a professor of family law at Hofstra University, told The Huffington Post. “It protects men just as much as it protects women. The question is did the employment action occur because of sex?”

To read more of the article click the link: http://huff.to/2ausuQY

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