Doing away with the NDA – TechCrunch

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There are some new laws that hopefully include all forms of discrimination and harassment to prevent the use of non-disclosure agreements in workplace situations. This will be huge for the technology industry, where NDA severance agreements have become commonplace.

Meanwhile, All Rise, Koursera and Niantic announced some new initiatives designed to increase diversity in tech.

I have also included an early look at a story I am working on about the pipeline myth. To discuss a lot more then let’s get to it.

The new law seeks to get rid of the NDA in cases of harassment or discrimination

Ifioma Ozoma, a former Pinterest employee who accused the company of racial and gender discrimination, New legislation co-premiered with California State Senator Connie Leyva and others to empower those experiencing workplace discrimination and / or harassment. The Silent No More Act (SB 331) may prohibit the use of non-disclosure agreements in workplace situations that include all forms of discrimination and harassment.

“It was a legal gamble,” Ojha told TechCrunch about coming forward with claims of both racial and gender discrimination despite signing the NDA. Ozone said that Pintrest has decided to sue both Ozoma and the banks, but for this the company would have to do the wrong thing.

Meredith Whitaker, Faculty Director at AI Now and Google Walkout co-organizer on SB 331

I also caught Whitaker, who said that this type of legislation is absolutely necessary:

From a structural point of view, it is indeed clear that we are going to change the toxic, discriminatory technological environment without naming problems. We have decades of unsuccessful DEI PRs, decades of pipeline blaming and brilliant people like Efioma, Erica and Timnit Being harassed and pushed out of these environments. And often, people are not able to speak about their experiences, so that the deep toxicity of these environments – the way it is built into the structural operating processes of these companies and workplaces – is not transmitted.

Muscle on pipeline problem

My conversation with Whitetaker led me to Dr. Joey introduced Lisi Rankin, a research lead for gender, race, and power in artificial intelligence. AI Now Institute. She is actively researching the history of the pipeline problem and takes some time to talk to me about it. I’m not done with the story right now, but here is a small teaser:

There is a very high-level view, people have been talking about the pipeline problem in one way or the other since the seventies, ”Rankin told me. “And before that, often, it was like a quotation, manpower problem, focusing on a PhD or master’s degree in a field or those who have elite jobs in a field. But that focus is always on the individuals. It is about tracking people, not institutions and structures. So I think this is a convenient excuse for a host of sins, because talking about a pipeline makes it seem as if all things are equal in the United States, and we just have to find a way to keep people but The truth is that when we think of the STEM pipeline, we do not talk about the fact that education in the United States is not equal since birth.

Former sales manager accused of microaggressions and inequality

Cynthia Perry, a former design research senior manager 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, is alleged to have experienced “countless microorganisms and inequality” during her time.

Finally, Perry stated that she quit her job because she had been “gatlit, manipulated, provoked, neglected and mostly unsupported”.

SalesFr provided the following statement to TechCrunch:

For confidentiality reasons, we cannot comment on individual employee matters, but equality is one of our highest values ​​and we are dedicated to its advancement inside and outside our company since it was established almost 22 years ago.

All aim to increase diversity at the board level

Despite recent efforts to improve diversity at the board level, the number of Black, Brown, and female board members is still small. Raise all that is looking to fix with Board Xcelerate’s recent launch. Already, five independent board members have been appointed in its 90-day search process.

Here is a summary of the program:

We begin by talking with investors, talent partners and CEOs who want to fill their open independent board seats. After that, we close the rapid, 90-day closed search process through a pool of talent supported by our own network and an external advisory committee and supported and executed by an executive executive search firm. Finally, we join companies and candidates for interviews and determine the best fit.

Kaursera commits some Black History Month commitments

Ed Tech Company Kaursera partnered with Howard University, Historically Black University, to beef up its social justice content on online platforms. Kaursera partnered with Facebook to provide scholarships to black people who want to learn more about social media marketing. Finally, Coursera partnered with the nonprofit Black Girls Code, which provides free access to the Coursera catalog to over 2,000 young Black girls.

Niantic launches Black Developers Initiative

Niantic, the augmented reality company behind Pokémon Go Launched a new initiative for new projects from black game developers. The Black Developers Initiative not only aims to fund those projects, but also provide resources and mentorship for Black Game and AR developers.

Alphabet Workers Union’s first win

Last week, AWU filed a complaint with the NLRB alleging that Google contract workers were silent about the salary and the company fired a worker for speaking up about it. Now, the worker, Shannon Waiting, is back at work.

“Work on Shannon’s back b / c he was a union when he was illegally suspended” AWU said in a tweet. “He came to us, we raised hell, and a week later, he’s back.”

Amazon Warehouse Workers Union Vote Begins

Earlier this week, Amazon warehouse workers from Bessemer, Alabama began voting to decide whether they would side with the retail, wholesale and department store union. The start of the vote The National Labor Relations Board rejected Amazon’s attempt to delay the vote.

By unionizing, Amazon workers hope to gain the right to bargain collectively on their working conditions, like safety standards, salaries, breaks, and other issues. Unionization also enables workers to potentially “just cause” vs. employees on a will-based basis, depending on how the negotiations go.

Mail-in voting ends on March 29, with the NLRB set to begin counting ballots the next day on a virtual platform.

Latest in the battle of prophet 22

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

During this, CA Supreme Court Rejects Uber and Lyft’s Request A review of the judgment of a lower court for whether they mistook their drivers as independent contractors. The judgment under consideration stated that drivers should be classified as employees, but then Prop 22 passed and did so, moving forward, with Uber and Lyft legally classifying their drivers as independent contractors Are capable.

TechCrunch Session: Justice is out of the agenda!

We Agenda released For the upcoming March 3 judicial event, we host Ariston Hamilton, Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, Vanessa Bain of Gig Workers Collectors, Parul Kaul, Executive President of Alphabet Workers Union, Color of Change, Rashad Robinson, Anti- Are capable of. Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and others.

Tickets are just $ 5.