Medina Bardhi, who claimed to have been pregnant twice in the company and to have taken maternity leave every time, claims the discrimination started in 2013 when she had interviewed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Neumann had asked her then if she wanted to marry and get pregnant.
Bardhi claims discrimination continues. She claims that Neumann and Jennifer Berrent, a longtime WeWork executive who currently serves as Chief Legal Officer, made several disturbing comments before leaving. Neumann allegedly referred to her maternity leave as "retirement" and "leave," while Berrent allegedly described her pregnancy as a "problem" that needed to be "addressed."
In a statement to CNN Business regarding the full complaint, a WeWork spokesman said: "WeWork intends to vigorously defend against this allegation, we do not tolerate any discrimination, we commit ourselves to driving and building the business, one company and one culture which our employees can be proud of. "
A representative of Neumann assigned CNN Business to WeWork for its corporate statement.
In the complaint, Bardhi asserts, months before her first appearance maternity leave at WeWork, Neumann and Berrent hired a man as chief of staff and paid him a salary of $ 400,000 with a bonus of $ 1
"Such an obvious gender pay gap was the norm and part of a pattern and practice at WeWork," states the complaint.
Upon her return, Bardhi said she had been "downgraded" and her role "drastically and materially reduced," while male employees receiving more than they paid were raised and replaced. Bardhi claims that Neumann, Berrent and other executives were looking for their permanent replacement after announcing their second pregnancy. When she returned the second time, she learned that she was no longer part of the boardroom and "has been paused for months and no longer denies meaningful work."
Bardhi points to the condition of the lactation room available to employees as a sign of lack of care for new mothers. According to the complaint, the lactation room she had to use was "inexcusably unhygienic," although there were between five and 10 employees who used him similarly at the time.
According to Douglas Wigdor, a lawyer representing Bardhi, there is hope that "after a thorough investigation, the EEOC will consider a model or class action lawsuit against WeWork to help transform the company's employment policies and practices."  Last year, further complaints were filed by former employees alleging that they had been avenged for internal reporting of incidents and eventually dismissed. A former employee accuses the company of retaliation for having reported sexual assault at two corporate events. The Company has denied the claim in a statement: "These allegations against WeWork are unfounded and we will take action against this lawsuit WeWork has always endeavored to promote an inclusive, supportive and secure workplace WeWork investigated the employee's grievances and took action appropriate action, and this employee was dismissed for her poor performance alone. "In another case, a former vice president sued the company for alleged age discrimination. WeWork declined to comment on the case.
As part of a rescue operation for the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, which now controls WeWork, Neumann can sell up to $ 970 million worth of shares to SoftBank and a loan of $ 500 million to repay a line of credit and $ 185 million. USD will receive fees for advising SoftBank according to a person familiar with the matter.