A former employee of Yahoo who was fired in November 2014 has taken the company to court over its performance ranking system, which he alleged was manipulated to justify firing hundreds of employees. The lawsuit, filed Monday, came a day before the company’s CEO announces its quarterly earnings and a streamlining plan Tuesday.
Gregory Anderson, an editor who oversaw Yahoo’s autos, homes, shopping, small business and travel sites, filed a lawsuit against his former employer in the Federal District Court in San Jose, California, on Monday, the New York Times reported. Other than his own firing, the lawsuit targets Yahoo’s employee rating system (called Q.P.R. within the company) put in place by CEO Marissa Mayer.
Anderson claimed that about 600 employees, including him, were unfairly fired in 2014 after their performance was downgraded by managers who tweaked the ranking system, according to Bloomberg. The lawsuit also claimed that managers were forced to give low ratings to a certain percentage of employees, regardless of their performance, Fortune reported.
According to the New York Times, Anderson claimed to have been abruptly fired while on an approved leave of absence to study at the University of Michigan, before which he had received high ratings. He said he was fired for complaining to the management about the effect of the Q.P.R. system on people under his supervision and an attempt by one employee to bribe him to reduce the rating of another employee.
“The Q.P.R. process was opaque and the employees did not know who was making the final decisions, what numbers were being assigned by whom along the way, or why those numbers were being changed,” the lawsuit said, according to the New York Times.
The mass terminations at Yahoo took place without appropriate notice, which was in violation of state and federal laws, according to the lawsuit.
California law mandates that employers give workers 60 days of advance notice if they were planning to lay off more than 50 employees within a 30-day period at a single location, such as Yahoo’s Sunnyvale headquarters.
Anderson also accused Yahoo of gender discrimination, saying that the company’s media group favored women when it came to hiring, promotions and layoffs. His lawsuit claimed that the “manipulation of the Q.P.R. process permitted employment decisions, including terminations, to be made on the basis of personal biases and stereotyping.”
Mayer is to announce Yahoo’s quarterly earnings, as well as plans to further streamline the company Tuesday. The latter is widely expected to lead to more job cuts in order to save costs.