Tech policy expert Ifeoma Ozoma broke her silence and her nondisclosure agreement to call out her former employer, Pinterest, for the harassment and discrimination she experienced. Now she's helping others do the same with the Silenced No More Act.
After leading public policy development and initiatives at Google and Facebook, Ifeoma Ozoma became the face and voice of the progressive change at Pinterest. She spearheaded action against harmful propaganda on its platform like vaccine misinformation. When Pinterest hopped on the Black Lives Matter bandwagon in June 2020, it was the last straw for Ozoma, who resigned over the racism and sexism she said experienced there. A nondisclosure agreement prohibited her from publicly calling out the company about unfair wages, a colleague who plastered her private information on hate sites or the inaction from Pinterest and its founder Ben Silbermann. "I knew I might be sued into bankruptcy, but I cared more about setting the record straight on the hypocrisy of it," the Yale alumni told The Guardian. With Aerica Shimizu Banks (who is also on this list), a Black coworker who resigned over discrimination and retaliation, Ozoma spoke truth to power. Her tech accountability and public policy consulting firm, Earthseed, co-sponsored the Silenced No More Act. The new California law protects whistleblowers who expose workplace harassment and discrimination, even if they've signed an NDA. In addition to pushing companies to adopt clear policies that ensure that misconduct is exempt from nondisclosure agreements, Ozoma recently launched Tech Worker Handbook, which advises whistleblowers on protecting themselves from large corporations.