Snapchat has resolved a lawsuit in California alleging discrimination and harassment with a settlement totaling $15 million

Snapchat Inc. has agreed to pay $15 million to settle a lawsuit filed by California’s civil rights agency alleging discrimination against female employees, failure to prevent workplace sexual harassment, and retaliation against women who lodged complaints.

The settlement, announced Wednesday by the California Civil Rights Department, pertains to female employees of Snapchat Inc. in California from 2014 to 2024, pending court approval. The resolution concludes a more than three-year investigation into claims that the Santa Monica-based company engaged in discriminatory practices regarding pay and promotions for women, as stated by the department.

California officials indicated that the majority of the settlement funds will be allocated to employees who experienced discrimination at Snapchat Inc.

Kevin Kish, director of California’s civil rights agency, emphasized the significance of workplace equality, stating, “Women are entitled to equality in every job, in every workplace, and in every industry. This settlement with Snapchat demonstrates a shared commitment to a California where all workers have a fair chance at the American Dream.”

Snapchat Inc. expressed disagreement with the agency’s allegations but opted to settle to avoid prolonged and expensive litigation.

“We are deeply committed to maintaining a fair and inclusive environment at Snap, and we do not believe there are ongoing systemic issues of pay equity, discrimination, harassment, or retaliation against women,” Snapchat Inc. stated in a released statement.

Since 2015, Snapchat Inc. has grown from 250 employees to over 5,000 in 2022. However, this growth did not translate into advancement opportunities for female employees, who, according to California officials, “were instructed to wait for their turn, actively discouraged from applying for promotions, or lost promotion opportunities to less qualified male colleagues.”

The lawsuit highlighted that women in engineering roles, constituting approximately 70% of Snap’s workforce, encountered obstacles when seeking advancement beyond entry-level positions.

California’s civil rights agency further asserted in its legal action that women experienced sexual harassment and faced retaliation such as negative performance evaluations and termination when they spoke out. The agency also alleged that male managers consistently favored less qualified male employees over more capable female colleagues.

“The lawsuit contends that women at Snap were explicitly and implicitly informed that they were second-class citizens,” the agency emphasized.

Under the terms of the settlement, Snapchat Inc. will engage an independent consultant to assess its compensation and promotion policies and retain an external auditor to monitor compliance with sexual harassment, retaliation, and discrimination regulations. The company is also mandated to provide comprehensive training to its staff on preventing discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment in the workplace. Additionally, Snapchat Inc. agreed to inform all employees about their right to report harassment or discrimination without fear of retaliation.

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