A former employee of Twitter, Tina Huang, filed suit against the social media company two weeks ago alleging gender discrimination. Among her allegations and complaints are the following:
“Promotion into Twitter’s senior technical positions is based on subjective judgments, by committees that are comprised of and dependent on upper management at Twitter, and predominantly male. These judgments are tainted with conscious or unconscious prejudices and gender-based stereotypes, which explains why so few women employees at Twitter advance to senior and leadership positions.”
The lawsuit goes on to provide a ten point list of gender discrimination and unfair treatment at Twitter. Click here to read an article from Mashable that provides that list. Keep in mind the lawsuit presents one side of the situation.
Regardless of how truthful those statements are, there is one huge takeaway here:
When you don’t have it, people fill in the blanks.
The lawsuit makes it sound as if there is a secretive cabal who passes subjective judgement on applicants for internal promotions. Maybe there is. Maybe there isn’t. But it is clear that the process is ambiguous at best. That ambiguity has led to employee frustration that hasn’t been addressed.
When people don’t know, or understand, how to get promoted they fill in the blanks with rumors and innuendo.
In an environment where gender discrimination is in the headlines everyday and more companies are revolutionizing the idea of transparency, people are not going to tolerate opaque systems that appear to favor one group or another. If you are lucky they leave, if not they sue your company and air your dirty laundry.