As Yahoo prepares to deliver its quarterly earnings report and agenda to investors, a former employee is giving the embattled company yet another thing to worry about. Gregory Anderson, a Yahoo editor laid off in November 2014, filed a lawsuit Monday alleging that he was dismissed with little to no warning, and that execs exploited the company's employee rating system to make cuts. Anderson also claims that Yahoo's media team was partial to women.
At the time of his dismissal, Anderson says he had just received a raise, promotion, and accolades from higher-ups. He was told more than 600 "low-performing" employees were being let go, which his complaint says violates federal and state laws that shield workers from mass layoffs. In California, companies are required to give employees more than 60 days' notice if they intend to lay off 50 people in the span of a month; federal law similarly mandates advance notice if 500 or more employees are being laid off. According to the New York Times, Yahoo has not afforded employees this—even though 1,100 employees were axed around the time Anderson was let go.
Yahoo's quarterly performance review, instated by CEO Marissa Mayer, gives all of its employees a performance ranking between one to five—a system that has allowed Mayer to make far-reaching cuts when necessary.
"As noted in our Diversity Report, fairness is a guiding principle of our annual review and reward process," said a spokeswoman for Yahoo in a statement provided to Fast Company. "Our performance review process was developed to allow employees at all levels of the company to receive meaningful, regular, and actionable feedback from others. We believe this process allows our team to develop and do their best work. Our performance review process also allows for high performers to engage in increasingly larger opportunities at our company, as well as for low performers to be transitioned out."
If courts find that Yahoo is in the wrong, the company may have to pay $500 for each day of notice, along with back pay and benefits for the days it withheld from employees.
As Yahoo struggles to get back on track amid flailing financials, more layoffs are in the pipeline: The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Yahoo will reveal plans to slash up to 15% of its workforce during an earnings call this afternoon.
[via Los Angeles Times]