Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Yahoo's being sued for reverse discrimination - Firing males to promote females


SAN FRANCISCO — One of Marissa Mayer’s signature policies as chief executive of Yahoo has been the quarterly performance review, in which every employee at the company is ranked on a scale of 1 to 5. The ratings have been used to fire hundreds of employees since Ms. Mayer joined the company in mid-2012.
Now, as Ms. Mayer prepares to announce a streamlining plan on Tuesday that is likely to involve even more job cuts, one former manager who lost his job is challenging the entire system as discriminatory and a violation of federal and California laws governing mass layoffs.
...
In his complaint, Anderson says that between 2012 and 2015, Yahoo reduced its work force by more than 30 percent to fewer than 11,000 employees. That constitutes a mass-layoff, which requires 60-day notice under state and federal law, he says.
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Anderson also says his supervisors, in particular Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Savitt, favored female workers. When Savitt began at Yahoo, top managers in the "Media Org" were less than 20 percent female, the complaint states. Three years later, they were more than 80 percent female.
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The complaint, filed in federal court in the Northern District of California, alleges gender discrimination and "termination in violation of public policy."

Apparently on the advice of a management consulting firm, Yahoo implemented stack ranking, and then allegedly started using it to manipulate the work force so that they could increase diversity.  Two Three mistakes here:

1.  Trusting a management consultant about anything.  If someone has an MBA and they tell you the sky is blue I would break out the color wheel and double check.  MBA have been the death of American industry.  (IMO of course, if any of my imaginary readers are MBAs I am sure you are lovely people who don't actually kick babies and eat dogs and your mothers probably actually do love you)

2.  Using stack rankings.  As far as I know these are a widely discredited technique and it's disturbing that someone as smart Marrisa Mayer is alleged to be (far, far smarter than me to be sure) is still using them.

3.  (allegedly) Blatantly disregarding employment law, although this is a Silicon Valley wide phenomenon,  Let's just assume that a diverse work force is always better than one that isn't and therefore their efforts to promote diversity are warranted (and I advocate promoting qualified minorities into positions that have traditionally been denied to them for some reason, and by qualified I mean that stripped of all identifying information and presented with just a list of skills, accomplishments, and qualifications the candidates would be on the same professional level)  That doesn't matter because employment law forbids making decisions like that based on race, gemder religion etc.  If the allegations are true, they broke the law.

Actually this really boils down to one error.  They listened to the management consultants.

Marissa Mayer is supposed to announce announce some restructuring plans today.  If I were here my plans would consist of two steps:

1.  Fire every single MBA in the company
2.  Put the engineers in charge for 12 months and let them come up with some cool shit.

I know people say that the age of the internet portal is over but if that's so why is Yahoo still one of the most visited pages on the web?  Update it.  Integrate Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and whatever else.  Make it useful again.  That would go a long ways towards fixing shit.

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