Major settlement | $15M payout from Snap for employees who battled sexual harassment

$15M payout from Snap for employees who battled sexual harassment

Snapchat Inc. has agreed to pay $15 million to settle a lawsuit initiated by California's civil rights agency.

The suit alleged the company engaged in discrimination against female employees, failed to prevent workplace sexual harassment, and retaliated against women who complained.

The settlement, which remains subject to court approval, pertains to women employed by the company in California between 2014 and 2024.

The California Civil Rights Department announced the agreement on Wednesday, concluding a more than three-year investigation into claims that the Santa Monica-based company discriminated against female employees in terms of pay and promotions.

The majority of the settlement funds will be allocated to employees who experienced discrimination at Snapchat Inc., according to California officials.

Kevin Kish, Director of California's civil rights agency, emphasized the significance of the settlement.

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“In California, we’re proud of the work of our state’s innovators who are a driving force of our nation’s economy,” Kish said.

“This settlement with Snapchat demonstrates a shared commitment to a California where all workers have a fair chance at the American Dream. Women are entitled to equality in every job, in every workplace, and in every industry.”

Despite disagreeing with the agency’s claims, Snapchat Inc. opted to settle to avoid prolonged and costly litigation.

“We care deeply about our commitment to maintain a fair and inclusive environment at Snap, and do not believe we have any ongoing systemic pay equity, discrimination, harassment, or retaliation issues against women,” the company stated.

The lawsuit highlighted that Snapchat Inc.'s rapid expansion—from 250 employees in 2015 to over 5,000 in 2022—did not correspond with advancement opportunities for female employees.

Women were often advised to "wait their turn," discouraged from seeking promotions, or lost promotion opportunities to less qualified male colleagues.

This issue was particularly pronounced among women in engineering roles, which constitute about 70% of Snap’s workforce.

California’s civil rights agency also detailed instances of sexual harassment, noting that women who spoke up faced retaliation, including negative performance reviews and termination.

The lawsuit accused male managers of routinely promoting male employees over more qualified women, reinforcing a culture where women were treated as second-class citizens.

As part of the settlement, Snapchat Inc. will hire an independent consultant to assess its compensation and promotion policies and retain an outside auditor to monitor its compliance with sexual harassment, retaliation, and discrimination regulations.

The company will also implement training for staff on preventing discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment, and ensure that all employees are informed about their right to report such issues without fear of retaliation.

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