SoulCycle Sued for Firing Employee 4 Weeks Into Maternity Leave

Illustration for article titled SoulCycle Sued for Firing Employee 4 Weeks Into Maternity Leave
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SoulCycle, the boutique cycling studio beloved by models and masochists, is being sued for discrimination by the company’s former Senior Director of Instructor Programming and Talent.


According to the filed complaint Jordan Kafenbaum, who was in charge of overseeing almost 400 SoulCycle instructors, was fired from her position after only 32 days from giving birth and only four weeks into her maternity leave. She also alleges in the complaint that news of her pregnancy was made public at a meeting by the company CPO who, when confronted by Kafenbaum for the inappropriate announcement, claimed she was just making a joke and then retaliated against her by excluding Kafenbaum from decisions.

The lawsuit comes during a turbulent time in the company, which is referenced in the complaint. In July, the company bungled a response to Black Lives Matter, which led to the resignation of several employees and complaints from customers. And according to the complaint, SoulCycle is rife with sexual harassment and discrimination, citing an instance in which interim CEO Sunder Reddy simulated a blowjob in front of Kafenbaum, and the allegation that former CEO Melanie Whelan once commented that “paternity leave is for pussies.”

You can read the full complaint here:

Hazel Cills is the Pop Culture Reporter at Jezebel. Her writing has been published by outlets including The Los Angeles Times, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, ELLE, and more.



Two months into my 18-month-parental leave at home with my spouse (three months’ parental leave plus a month vacation) and OMFG I don’t know how I’d do this alone, let alone plan going back to work soon. Especially during a pandemic with almost no outside help from family and friends (at least not physical support, anyway).

I’m not covered for all of my maternity leave, but a decent chunk of it — and my job is guaranteed, union-protected to still be there when I return.

Paternity leave isn’t for “pussies,” unless by “pussy” you mean “super strong supportive partner who finds helping his wife figure out breastfeeding way fucking harder than remotely working his day job.”