The woman who was employed as chief of staff to former WeWork CEO Adam Neumann is alleging in a federal complaint filed Thursday that Neumann, among other things, hotboxed her against her will while she was pregnant. The woman, Media Bardhi, said Neumann’s “penchant for bringing marijuana on chartered flights and smoking it throughout the flight while in an enclosed cabin” was a part of a series of actions that became a larger pattern of pregnancy and gender discrimination.
Bardhi said in the complaint that she didn’t want to share that she was pregnant, but the hotboxing behavior that could endanger her pregnancy forced her hand in March 2016. What followed, according to the complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, was a series of demotions and retaliations.
Neumann was forced to step down in September after the anticipated public offerings of his real estate holdings company that was masquerading as the supposed future of work pretty much melted down in front of him. (Seriously, Neumann was forced to relinquish so much of his stock that SoftBank now controls the company, but at least Neumann got a $185 million consulting fee.)
Bardhi was demoted both times she became pregnant during her five-year tenure at WeWork, and was fired earlier in October, the Times reported. In his position as head of the company, Neumann called Bardhi’s maternity leave “vacation” and “retirement,” she alleges. According to The New York Times, another company official told Bardhi that “Wow, you’re getting big” during Bardhi’s pregnancy.
Bardhi said in the complaint that Neumann actually asked her if she planned to get pregnant during her job interview in October 2013. It left her “stunned and uncomfortable,” according to the Times.
Per the complaint:
“This assertion and supposed justification rings hollow, as Ms. Bardhi already had been pushed out of Mr. Neumann’s office. It is clear that Ms. Bardhi’s firing was motivated by the Company’s sustained discriminatory bias and retaliatory animus against her and other female employees who become pregnant, take maternity leave, and/or complain about gender-based discrimination.”
The complaint also alleges that excessive alcohol contributed to the hostile environment on top of equal pay violations.
This isn’t the first lawsuit alleging gender discrimination at WeWork. A former senior vice president, Lisa Bridges, sued the company and the head of goddamn human resources in June, alleging equal pay violations, retaliation, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination.
Neumann hasn’t offered a public comment to media at this time. WeWork spokeswoman Gwen Rocco told the Times that the company will “vigorously defend itself against” Bardhi’s complaint. “We have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind,” Rocco told the newspaper.