Twitter vs Discrimination


Twitter vs Discrimination

The past few weeks have not been good for Twitter. It’s bad enough to be harassed and threatened by the most notorious terror group around today. Now Twitter faces a gender discrimination lawsuit.

A former Twitter software engineer filed a class action lawsuit. In the suit, she claimed the company’s promotion policies deliberately and unlawfully favor men. The former engineer is Tina Huang. Huang talks of employees being notified of promotions through a ‘shoulder-tap’ process. But it was mostly men getting their shoulder tapped, creating somewhat of a ‘good old boy’ network. When Huang complained of this promotion system, and complaining of being overlooked, she was reportedly fired. The lawsuit says upper management is chiefly male and it makes all hiring decision. That alone breeds an environment favoring men for jobs and promotions. Twitter is fighting back. The social media conglomerate claims Tina Huang left on her own terms. They even say they tried to get Huang to stay, and was never fired. Twitter insists it’s deeply committed to diversity it’s office and is ready to prove Huang was treated fairly.

I wasn’t there and I don’t know who to believe. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. But I’ve read the gap between technological companies and diversity and the numbers aren’t good. In July 2014, a study exposed the lack of diversity at Twitter: only 30% of employees were women, 2% were black, and 3% were Latino. Other tech companies didn’t fair much better. I couldn’t find statistics of management in these companies, but I bet the numbers are even lower. So with these facts, Tina Huang’s lawsuit has some merit. But I also believe Twitter and other tech giants are doing their part to close such gaps. Let’s not forgot some Silicon Valley companies are led by women. So whose going to win this: Tina Huang or Twitter?

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