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Tuesday, July 2, 2024 | Back issues
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Snapchat reaches $15 million settlement over gender discrimination, harassment claims

The social media company also agreed to implement practices to comply with California's worker discrimination protections.

LOS ANGELES (CN) — Snapchat agreed to pay $15 million to settle a lawsuit from California’s Civil Rights Department claiming that the social media company allowed discrimination, harassment and retaliation against women who work for the company.

The agreement reached Tuesday resolves more than three years spent investigating claims of employment discrimination, equal pay violations and sexual harassment and retaliation at Snap Inc., the social media app's parent company.

California officials claimed that, during a period of rapid growth following its founding in 2011, Snap failed to put measures into place to ensure that it pays and promotes all employees equally.

The proposed consent decree filed Tuesday to settle the claims awaits approval in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Snap Inc. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kevin Kish, the department's director, said that he is proud of work in California to promote innovation along with equity.

“We’re also proud of the strength of our state’s civil rights laws, which help ensure every worker is protected against discrimination and has an opportunity to thrive," Kish said. "This settlement with Snapchat demonstrates a shared commitment to a California where all workers have a fair chance at the American Dream. Women are entitled to equality in every job, in every workplace and in every industry.”

The state claimed in its lawsuit against Snap that women encountered a glass ceiling at the company, and were often actively discouraged from applying for promotions or even lost promotion opportunities to less qualified male colleagues.

Women working at Snap also suffered unwelcome sexual advances and harassment, and faced retaliation if they reported it — including denial of professional opportunities, negative performance reviews or termination, investigators said.

According to the proposed settlement, Snap commits to corrective actions to ensure that it implements fair employment practices and compensates women who were employees at the Santa Monica-based company between 2014 and 2024.

Along with paying workers $15 million in direct relief, Snap will retain an independent consultant to evaluate and make recommendations regarding compensation, promotion policies and training materials.

It will contract with a third-party monitor to audit sexual harassment, retaliation and discrimination compliance. Snap also agrees to ensure that all staff finish preventative training about that compliance, and learn about their right to complain of any harassment or discrimination without fear of retaliation.

The company also agrees to recognize its obligation to avoid discriminating against or harassing employees based on their sex, and ensure that future contracts with staffing agencies require compliance with state protections against workplace discrimination and harassment.

Any women who worked as an employee for Snap in California between 2014 and 2024 may be eligible for compensation. The department said Wednesday it will post more information on its website and contact eligible workers, if the court approves the agreement.

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Categories / Business, Civil Rights, Entertainment

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