Monday, October 11, 2021

How Ifeoma Ozoma is Creating a Safe Space for Tech Whistleblowers

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Blessing Iyamadiken
Blessing Iyamadiken is a media and marketing specialist with 4 years experience in the industry of digital marketing, publishing and advertising. She is also a feminist and very passionate about Gender Equality. In her spare time, she loves to read or binge on Netflix.

Ifeoma Ozoma, a former Pinterest employee is creating a safe space for whistleblowers. After leaving Pinterest, Ifeoma could not tell people the real reason for leaving her high profile job at Pinterest – until she broke her NDA to speak out.

Before leaving Pinterest, Ifeoma had signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement which forbade her from sharing the reason for quitting her role as a public policy manager, where she engaged with the press, elected officials and health experts.

Today, she is helping other whistleblowers find their voice, not just through her online resource guide, but also legislation which she co-sponsored in California and has now been signed into law, called the Silenced No More Act.

This law signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, hopes to help clear a path to ensure workers who experienced workplace discrimination or harassment don’t have to go through the same thing she went through. The law prohibits employers from using nondisclosure agreements to shut ex-employees who seek to complain about discrimination.

According to Ifeoma Ozoma, coming forward should not be as painful as it currently is, nor should it carry as much risk for someone, as it currently does, and this law would change that.

Ifeoma Ozoma’s free online resource guide called “The Tech Worker Handbook” would help tech workers who need help with information on how to share their stories of misconduct on the part of the tech companies. It also details how to prepare for what comes next. The guide also offers pages of resources for advice on media, legal actions and security precautions.

Ozoma has received praise for her resource guide from notable names in the tech industry like Ellen Pao, a tech investor and former Reddit CEO, who sued venture firm, Kleiner Perkins, for gender discrimination in 2012; Erika Cheung, a former Theranos employee who is also testifying against Elizabeth Holmes in the ongoing trial.

Erika Cheung’s voice is also included in the guide. She said,

“You will face retaliation and lots of difficulties navigating the legal system, but the thing that kept me going was knowing that the company was wrong and causing harm to people by hiding a certain defect in their product. That anchor is what I turned to when I was facing especially difficult circumstances.” 

Read Also: Why We Need to Believe Women More

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