Remove NDA – TechCrunch

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There is new legislation that hopes to prevent the use of non-disclosure agreements in work situations involving all forms of discrimination and harassment. That would be huge for the tech industry, where nondisclosure agreements have become commonplace in separation agreements.

Meanwhile, All Raise, Coursera and Niantic announced new initiatives designed to increase technological diversity.

I’ve also included a preview of a story I’m working on about The Pipeline Myth. Much more to discuss so let’s go.

New legislation seeks to get rid of NDAs in cases of harassment or discrimination

Ifeoma Ozoma, a former Pinterest employee who alleged racial and gender discrimination at the company, is co-leading new legislation with California State Senator Connie Leyva and others to hold those discriminated against accountable and / or harassment at work. The Silenced No More Act (SB 331) would prevent the use of non-disclosure agreements in work situations involving all forms of discrimination and harassment.

“It was a legal bet,” Ozoma told TechCrunch of the racial and gender discrimination complaint, despite signing an NDA. Pinterest could have decided to sue Ozoma and Banks, Ozoma said, but that would have forced the company to admit its wrongdoing.

Meredith Whittaker, faculty director at AI Now and co-organizer of Google’s walkout on SB 331

I also met Whittaker, who said that this kind of legislation is absolutely necessary:

From a structural point of view, it is really obvious that we are not going to change toxic and discriminatory technological environments without naming the problems. We have decades of failed DEI PR, decades of people blaming the pipeline, and decades of brilliant people like Ifeoma, Aerica and Timnit harassed and pushed out of these environments. And often people are not able to talk about their experiences so that the deep toxicity of these environments – the way it is incorporated into the structural operating procedures of these companies and workplaces – is not broadcast.

Thoughts on the Pipeline Problem

My conversation with Whittaker led me to be introduced to Dr Joy Lisi Rankin, a researcher on gender, race and power in artificial intelligence at the AI Now Institute. She is actively researching the history of the pipeline problem and took the time to discuss it with me. I haven’t finished the story yet, but here’s a little teaser:

The very high level view is that people have been talking about a pipeline problem in one form or another since the 1970s, ”Rankin told me. “And before that, a lot of times it was like a quote, a manpower issue, focusing on who has a doctorate or master’s degree in a field or who has elite jobs in a field. But this emphasis is still on individuals. It is about stalking people, not institutions and not structures. That’s why I think it continues to be a convenient excuse for a host of sins, because talking about a pipeline makes it seem like all things are equal in the United States, and we just have to find a way to keep people in. But the truth is, when we think of a STEM pipeline, we’re not talking about the fact that education in the United States is by no means equal from birth.

Former Salesforce Manager Alleges Micro-Aggression, Inequality

Cynthia Perry, a former senior director of design research at Salesforce who left earlier this month, posted her resignation letter on LinkedIn which detailed her negative treatment at the company. In it, Perry, a black woman, alleges that she suffered “countless micro-assaults and inequities” during her time there.

Ultimately, Perry said she quit her job because she was “cheated, manipulated, bullied, neglected and most of all without support” by people she chose not to name.

Salesforce provided the following statement to TechCrunch:

For reasons of confidentiality, we cannot comment on the individual affairs of employees, but equality is one of our highest values ​​and we are dedicated to its advancement both inside and out. of our company since our inception almost 22 years ago.

All Raise aims to increase diversity at the board level

Despite recent efforts to improve diversity at the board level, the number of black, brown and female members is still low. All Raise seeks to resolve this issue with the recent launch of Board Xcelerate. Already, its 90-day search process has resulted in the placement of five independent board members.

Here is the gist of the program:

We start by talking to investors, talented partners and CEOs who want to fill their independent seats on the board. Next, we launch a fast 90-day closed search process using a talent pool drawn from our own network and an external advisory board, supported and executed by an executive search firm. Finally, we connect companies and candidates to interview and determine the best candidate.

Coursera makes commitments for Black History Month

Education technology company Coursera has partnered with Howard University, a historically black university, to strengthen its social justice content on the online platform. Coursera has also partnered with Facebook to offer scholarships for black people who want to learn more about social media marketing. Finally, Coursera has partnered with the non-profit organization Black Girls Code to offer 2,000 young black girls free access to the Coursera catalog.

Niantic launches the Black Developers Initiative

Niantic, the augmented reality company behind Pokemon Go, launched a new initiative to fund new projects of black game developers. The Black Developers Initiative aims not only to fund these projects, but also to provide resources and mentorship to black game and AR developers.

Alphabet Workers Union wins first victory

Last week, AWU filed a complaint with the NLRB, alleging that Google contract workers were silenced about pay and the company fired a worker for talking about it. Now the worker in question, Shannon Wait, is back at work.

“Shannon is back at work because she had a union to turn to when she was illegally suspended” AWU said in a tweet. “She came to us, we raised hell, and a week later she’s back.”

Amazon warehouse workers union vote begins

Earlier this week, Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, began voting to decide whether or not to unionize with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. The start of the vote came shortly after the National Labor Relations Board rejected Amazon’s attempt to delay the vote.

By organizing, Amazon workers hope to gain the right to collectively negotiate their working conditions, such as safety standards, wages, breaks and other matters. Unionization would also allow workers to potentially become “just cause” employees rather than employees at will, depending on how negotiations unfold.

Postal voting ends on March 29, with the NLRB due to start counting ballots the next day on a virtual platform.

The Last Battles of Prop 22

Despite the California Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 22, the Service Employees International Union filed a similar complaint in a lower court, the Alameda County Superior Court.

During this time, California Supreme Court rejected Uber and Lyft’s claim for him to review a lower court ruling as to whether they misclassified their drivers as independent contractors. The ruling in question said that drivers were to be classified as employees, but Prop 22 was later passed and did, in the future Uber and Lyft are legally able to classify their drivers as independent contractors.

TechCrunch sessions: the justice agenda is out!

We’ve released the agenda for the upcoming Justice event on March 3rd. We are delighted to welcome Backstage Capital Founder and Managing Partner Arlan Hamilton, Gig Workers Collective Vanessa Bain, Alphabet Workers Union Executive Chairman Parul Koul, Color of Change Chairman Rashad. Robinson, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and others.

Tickets are only $ 5.



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