First she discovered she made $25,000 less in base salary than a colleague doing the same work as her at a tech giant—and about $20,000 less in restricted stock units, or RSUs, a form of equity compensation that vests over a certain period of time. He was also working remotely from an area with a lower cost of living while Rotondo was based in the pricey Bay Area and commuting three hours most days.
“That, for me, raised a question of: Why am I being asked to do this work under worse conditions for less than my peer?” she says. “Is this an outlier or is everybody making more than me?”
Eight men, she learned when she started asking around, made more money than she did. Rotondo also found another woman at the company whose compensation was similar to her own. A second woman didn’t want to share her salary because she “was embarrassed at how low it was,” Rotondo says.
She logged the information in a spreadsheet and went to a manager. Her complaint was kicked up to her manager’s boss and then human resources. She said she felt ashamed when discovering the inequities and frustrated with the slow response. Months later, following an internal investigation of her compensation, Rotondo says the company determined she’d receive a $0 adjustment.
“It was so incredibly insulting. That was when I started to think that I probably have to leave,” she says. In 2020, she resigned. “You want to believe in the hype…of your employer being a great place,” Rotondo says. To realize that was untrue was hard and disappointing, she adds, something she’s still recovering from now.