SAN FRANCISCO — In April, Françoise Brougher, the chief operating officer of Pinterest and its top female executive, abruptly left the company with little explanation.

In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, Ms. Brougher accused the $21 billion company, which makes virtual pinboards, of firing her after she complained about sexist treatment. In her suit, which was filed in San Francisco Superior Court, Ms. Brougher said she had been left out of important meetings, was given gendered feedback, was paid less than her male peers when she joined the company, and ultimately was let go for speaking up about it.

“Gender discrimination at the C-level suite may be a little more subtle, but it’s very insidious and real,” Ms. Brougher, 54, said in an interview. “When men speak out, they get rewarded. When women speak out, they get fired.”

Pinterest was reviewing the lawsuit, a company spokeswoman said. “Our employees are incredibly important to us,” she said, adding that the company was committed to advancing its culture so “all of our employees feel included and supported.” Pinterest is conducting an independent review regarding its culture, policies and practices, she added.

Ms. Brougher said Pinterest’s chief financial officer, Todd Morgenfeld, asked her at one point, “What is your job anyway?” in front of peers, according to the lawsuit. Mr. Morgenfeld also offered Ms. Brougher formal feedback that she viewed as sexist, according to the lawsuit. When she confronted him about it on a video call, he raised his voice and hung up on her, the suit said.

Ben Silbermann, Pinterest’s chief executive, was dismissive of Ms. Brougher’s concerns about Mr. Morgenfeld, comparing it to a domestic dispute, according to the suit. Human resources treated the complaint as a legal matter, the suit said.

In April, soon after the heated conversation with Mr. Morgenfeld, Ms. Brougher was terminated, according to the suit.

“I was told I wasn’t collaborating enough,” she said. Pinterest asked her to announce that leaving was her decision and she declined, she said.

Ms. Brougher’s law firm, Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe, also represented Ms. Pao.

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