When Ifeoma Ozoma came forward with allegations of discrimination and racism at Pinterest, she was prepared. She had a list of reporters on deck to share her story. She’d already hired a lawyer. Then she started hearing from other tech workers who also wanted to speak out. “The general lack of awareness around options and resources was shocking,” she says.
Now, she’s aiming to fix that.
On Wednesday, Ozoma launched the Tech Worker Handbook — a comprehensive online resource to help employees who want to speak out. “Deciding to go toe-to-toe with a powerful and well-resourced corporation is difficult for many reasons,” the website reads. “Access to information about how to find legal counsel, file a complaint with a governmental organization, work with the media, secure personal information, or ensure physical safety should not be an additional barrier.”
The website includes information on how to secure legal counsel, engage with the media, and maintain digital and physical security. “It’s not a step by step guide,” Ozoma says. “It’s a resource for people who have information that’s in the public interest to help them decide if coming forward is the right decision.”
For employees in California, the decision could be made easier by the Silenced No More Act — a bill Ozoma helped push that would protect workers who speak out about harassment and discrimination, even if they’ve signed a non-disclosure agreement. The bill passed the California Assembly in August and is currently sitting on Governor Newsom’s desk.
Ozoma partnered with the Whistleblowing International Network, the Signals Network, and Lioness Strategies — the organization behind last week’s bombshell Blue Origin revelations — to design the Tech Worker Handbook resources. The project received funding from the Omidyar Network.
Ozoma stresses that this is about making whistleblowers as effective as possible. “Frances was super fucking prepared,” she says by way of example, referring to the former Facebook product manager who testified before a Senate subcommittee Tuesday about the harmful effects of the platform. “If you’re prepared, you’re more powerful.”