California readers might be interested to learn that a former WeWork employee is suing the company and its recently ousted CEO over alleged gender discrimination claims. The complaint was filed on Oct. 31.
According to court documents, the plaintiff faced a gender pay gap and pregnancy discrimination while serving as former CEO Adam Neumann’s chief of staff. The claim contends that Neumann asked the plaintiff about her marriage and pregnancy plans during her job interview in October 2013 and repeatedly referred to her maternity leave as a “vacation” when she eventually became pregnant. The suit further alleges that a man who was hired to perform the same job as the plaintiff was offered more than twice her annual salary of $150,000.
The lawsuit goes on to claim that the plaintiff was “forced” to inform Neumann that she was pregnant because he routinely smoked marijuana on chartered business flights, putting the health of her baby at risk. In a statement, a WeWork spokesperson said that the company has “zero tolerance for discrimination” and intends to “vigorously” fight the plaintiff’s allegations in court. According to experts, WeWork is currently valued at between $7.5 billion and $8 billion. Neumann reportedly received $1.7 billion in compensation when he left the company in September.
It is illegal for companies to discriminate against employees based on their sex, pregnancy status or a number of other protected categories. Individuals who experience workplace gender or pregnancy discrimination could speak to an employment attorney about their situation. After reviewing the details of the case, the attorney might recommend filing a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the applicable state agency. This could result in a settlement that covers the losses that have been sustained.