In regards to Kathy Savitt “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,” in a lawsuit leveled against Yahoo by Scott Ard over gender discrimination.
For anyone who knows about business: firing or demoting top level management is usually a very rare situation requiring the higher ups to have performed extremely poorly or a restructuring of the entire business is occurring that would require layoffs of upper management. Yahoo spokeswoman Carolyn Clark defended Yahoo saying;
“This lawsuit has no merit. With the unwavering support of our CEO, we are focused on hiring employees with broad and varied backgrounds, and perspectives,” Clark said. “Our performance-review process was developed to allow employees at all levels of the company to receive meaningful, regular and actionable feedback from others.
“Our performance-review process also allows for high performers to engage in increasingly larger opportunities at our company, as well as for low performers to be transitioned out.”
Yahoo’s performance review process was allegedly encouraged by Mayer for use by other executives to allow for the alleged gender-based discrimination. All this at a glance would suggest that over 60% of the top male managers were “low performers” needing to be transitioned out.
Yahoo’s recent changes that allowed for “actionable feedback from others” did not seem to lead to an increase in value and profits. Yahoo was heavily suffering in February 2016, needing to lay off 1700 employees and would put itself up for its eventual sale to Verizon for $4.8 billion dollars. Mayer will reportedly depart upon the deals conclusion with a severance pay worth more than $50 million dollars.
But does this mean Marissa Mayer was leading a purge of male employees, encouraging a bias against men, to hire more women to replace upper management with Yahoo’s performance-review process? Or was this simply an attempt at a restructuring for a failing company? It’s hard to say for sure, but with the lawsuit claim stating;
Ard’s suit also takes aim at the performance-review process he said Mayer imposed. The process allowed high-level managers to arbitrarily change scores of employees they had no contact with, and it “permitted and encouraged discrimination based on gender or any other personal bias held by management.”
Liberman, he said, once “unilaterally lowered” the scores of three men whose performance Ard had evaluated, while she maintained the scores of two women.
There certainly seems to have been something odd going on in regards to the performance review process that may have indeed encouraged discriminatory actions against male employees.