Reddit Executive’s Dismissal Shut Down Parts of Popular Site
By Thomas Ricotta on July 7th, 2015 in In The News
Reddit, the popular online message board, shut down hundreds of sections of its site this past week. News reports claim the reason behind the disruption was to protest the sudden dismissal of one of the company’s high-level employees, Victoria Taylor. The shutdown allegedly affected almost 300 discussion areas on the Reddit site, one of the highest trafficked sites on the internet. The online protest not only caused issues for regular readers of Reddit, but also will likely negatively affect the company’s advertising business. Ms. Taylor, the most visible Reddit employee to the public, was with the company for two years. What makes this case unique or, some may agree, even ironic, is the fact that Ellen Pao, the interim CEO of Reddit who is responsible for Ms. Taylor’s unexplainable oust, and has been tangled up in a gender employment discrimination lawsuit against her former employer Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Buyers. Earlier this year a California jury rejected Ms. Pao’s claim that she was denied promotions to more prominent positions due to the company’s gender discrimination practices. Furthermore, Ms. Taylor, who was a very visible and seemingly well-liked Reddit executive, was expelled from her position without any explanation by Ms. Pao.
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Simply put, federal (and many state) law prohibits discrimination in almost every area of employment. Specifically, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against a job applicant or employee based on their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or genetic information. Several federal laws prohibit workplace discrimination, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, to name a few.
Some protections under these laws include, but are not limited to:
● Equal pay for equal work performed by men and women;
● Individuals over the age of 40 cannot be discriminated against based on age;
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● Retaliation against a victim – or other employee – who reports harassment in the workplace is prohibited.
These laws apply to several employment-related areas, including hiring and firing, transfers, compensation, promotions, layoffs, testing and training, retirement, recruiting and more. These laws also require an employer to provide a work environment free from harassment.
Before an employee can file a complaint of discrimination against their employer, a charge must first be filed with the EEOC. Should the EEOC find merit in the claim, it may sue the employer on the employee’s behalf. Alternatively, the EEOC may provide a “right to sue” letter to the victim so that he or she may proceed with a lawsuit.
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