Adam Neumann, CEO of WeWork.
Eduardo Munoz | Reuters
Adam Neumann now faces a new legal challenge even after being exhausted as CEO of WeWork.
Neumann's former chief of staff is suing The We Company for allegedly maintaining a significant gender pay gap, smoking marijuana in front of her and discriminating against her and other women for getting pregnant and taking maternity leave, among other allegations.
The complaint, filed Thursday, claims that former WeWork employee Medina Bardhi received significantly lower pay than her male peers.
According to the lawsuit, a new male recruit for the chief of staff with "the same job title and role" as Bardhi's was offered an annual salary of $ 400,000 with a signing bonus of $ 1
Neumann also allegedly asked Bardhi about her plans to get married and get pregnant during her October 2013 interview for the lawsuit, and later referred to her maternity leave as a "holiday" on several occasions.
The complaint also claims Bardhi was "forced" to tell her boss about the pregnancy "because she knew she had to explain why she could no longer follow Neumann on business trips, especially because of her penchant for carrying marijuana on charter flights and smoking it throughout the flight while in the closed cabin. "The suit claims that Neuman smoked marijuana on a private flight in front of Bardhi a week before she told him she was pregnant.
A spokesman for WeWork said in a statement, "WeWork intends to vigorously defend against this allegation. We have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind. We are committed to continuing the company and building a company and culture like ours. employees can be proud of. "
WeWork has had a tremendous couple of months since we released the IPO prospectus in August, revealing a net loss of more than $ 900 million for the first six months of revenue of $ 1.54 billion dollars. The prospect was derided by analysts for their booming statements as their mission "to raise the world's consciousness."
Finally, WeWork halted its plans to be published amid the announcement of losses and corporate governance. Analysts took issue with Neumann's unorthodox practice, including selling the "We" trademark to his own business for $ 5.9 million (which he later returned) and involving several family members in the business.
WeWork was valued at $ 47 billion in its last private financing round, but under the new agreement with SoftBank to take control of the business, WeWork is now valued at between $ 7.5 billion and $ 8 billion on an advance basis . As part of the funding, Neumann will receive up to $ 1.7 billion to move away from the company.
"It is amazing that WeWork can reward Adam Neumann's blatant sexist behavior with a staggering and unprecedented golden parachute worth over a reported $ 1 billion," said Douglas Wigdor, Bardhi's attorney, in an email statement. He said his hope is that this complaint "will send a loud and clear message to WeWork and other startups that pregnant women cannot be forced out of work, that women must be paid fairly and have equal opportunities, and that you cannot retaliate against anyone person who expresses a complaint of discrimination. "
– CNBC's Laura Batchelor contributed to this report.
SE: WeWork and ex-CEO Neumann charged with pregnancy discrimination