San Francisco (Reuters) - A Yahoo Inc YHOO.O media executive fired from the internet company last year has filed a lawsuit claiming a job review process implemented by Chief Executive Marissa Mayer was used to cut men from executive ranks and lay them off illegally, court papers showed.
Scott Ard, a former senior editorial director at Yahoo, filed the lawsuit in California’s Northern District Court in San Jose on Tuesday, saying the company violated federal civil rights and employment regulations.
Yahoo spokeswoman Carolyn Clark said in a statement that the lawsuit had no merit and called the performance review process “fair.”
The lawsuit is the second this year accusing Yahoo of discrimination against men, and targets one of the highest-profile Silicon Valley female executives, Mayer, who is in the middle of divesting Yahoo’s core assets after failing to turn the company around.
Ard, who joined Yahoo in 2011, argued that he had received overall positive performance reviews and stock awards before Mayer introduced a quarterly performance review (QPR) system that left him with an unsatisfactory ranking.
“Yahoo’s QPR Process permitted manipulation without oversight or accountability and was thus more arbitrary and discriminatory than the stack ranking used for a while by other employees,” the lawsuit said.
It accused Yahoo of violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and U.S. Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification regulations.
Ard claims that since 2012, Yahoo has terminated more than 50 employees within a 30-day period on several occasions under the system, according to court documents. Yahoo had 9,400 employees as of March.
The lawsuit also claims former Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Savitt “intentionally hired and promoted women because of their gender,” noting that 14 of about 16 senior level editorial employees hired by her were women.
In February, former Yahoo Autos Managing Editor Gregory Anderson sued the company, accusing it of gender discrimination and violations related to the job review process.
The case, filed to U.S. District Court Northern California, San Jose Division, is 5:16-cv-05635-NC.
Reporting by Deborah M. Todd; Editing by Peter Henderson and Richard Chang