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Another former Yahoo employee has filed a lawsuit claiming that management running the company’s “Media Org” was biased against men.
The complaint (PDF) filed by Scott Ard says that Yahoo’s “stack ranking” system was “without oversight or accountability” and was “more arbitrary and discriminatory” than stack ranking used by other companies.
The lawsuit claims that Yahoo’s Media Org employees were ranked from 0.0 to 5.0 before being subject to a “calibration” process by higher-level management.
Ard claims employees weren’t told their numeric ranking but were only informed of their “Bucket” ranking, labeled “Greatly Exceeds, “Exceeds,” “Achieves,” “Occasionally Misses,” or “Misses.”
Ard was hired at Yahoo in 2011, where he had editorial control of the Yahoo.com homepage.
In 2014, following a leadership change that put Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Savitt in charge of Media Org, Ard was shifted to a role in which he managed Yahoo Autos, Yahoo Shopping, and Yahoo Small Business.
The lawsuit’s allegations closely mirror those of Gregory Anderson, another male ex-Media Org worker who sued Yahoo in February.
Anderson and Ard have the same lawyer, Palo Alto-based Jon Parsons.
Discovery is ongoing in the Anderson case, which is currently scheduled for a trial in May.
Like Anderson, Ard places blame on two female Yahoo managers who took over Media Org in early 2014, Kathy Savitt and Megan Liberman.
Ard claims that before Savitt and Liberman ran Media Org, his performance reviews indicated his work was “fully satisfactory” and that he received ratings of “exceeds” or “greatly exceeds” in five out of seven quarters.
According to the complaint, Ard had a performance review on January 30, 2015, in which he was told by Liberman that his performance “was not satisfactory and he was being terminated that day.” The stated reason was that Ard hadn’t provided a breakdown of his duties to Liberman, although Ard protested that he had done so. “Liberman’s excuse for terminating Plaintiff was a pretext,” Ard’s lawyer states.
The Ard lawsuit claims, like the Anderson case, that Media Org top management went from less than 20-percent female to being more than 80-percent female under Savitt’s management. Of 16 senior-level editorial employees hired or promoted by Savitt during an 18-month period, 14 of them were female, Ard alleges.
The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday and reported yesterday by the San Jose Mercury News, accuses Yahoo of violating federal anti-discrimination laws.
It also claims that mass layoffs that resulted from Yahoo’s ranking process were a method of avoiding the federal and California WARN Acts, which typically require 60 days’ notice to employees during large-scale layoffs.
A Yahoo spokesperson declined to comment on the specifics of the litigation but defended the company’s review system generally.
“Fairness is a guiding principle of our annual review and reward process,” wrote Yahoo spokesperson Carolyn Clark in an e-mail to Ars. “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.”