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Lawsuit: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer led illegal purge of male workers

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In addition to Mayer, two other female executives — Kathy Savitt, former chief marketing officer, and Megan Liberman, editor-in-chief of Yahoo News, identified in the lawsuit as Yahoo’s vice president of news at the time — are accused in the lawsuit of discriminating on the basis of gender.

“When Savitt began at Yahoo the top managers reporting to her … including the chief editors of the verticals and magazines, were less than 20 percent female. Within a year and a half those top managers were more than 80 percent female,” the lawsuit said. “Savitt has publicly expressed support for increasing the number of women in media and has intentionally hired and promoted women because of their gender, while terminating, demoting or laying off male employees because of their gender.

“Of the approximately 16 senior-level editorial employees hired or promoted by Savitt … in approximately an 18-month period, 14 of them, or 87 percent, were female,” the lawsuit said.


Yahoo’s use of this review system to fire many workers individually in a short time period broke the U.S. and California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) acts, which mandate advance notification of mass layoffs, the suit alleged. “Marissa Mayer became CEO on a wave of optimism and then engaged in a sleight of hand to terminate large numbers of employees without announcing a single layoff,” the suit said.

Yahoo’s diversity reports indicate that the percentage of women in leadership positions at the company rose slightly to 24 percent in 2015 from 23 percent in 2014.

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