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WeWork is being sued for age and gender discrimination

WeWork is being sued for age and gender discrimination
[Photo: Alex Kotliarskyi/Unsplash]

Two former execs at WeWork are suing the company, alleging age and gender discrimination, according to Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal. In the age discrimination suit, Richard Markel, a 62-year-old former vice president at the company says he was discriminated against for his age shortly after he began working for the company a year earlier.

Markel began working for WeWork in 2018 after the company acquired part of a construction company he worked for. After being hired, WeWork asked Markel to move from New York to San Fransisco, but shortly after he arrived, Markel says WeWork hired someone 20 years younger than him with the same title and Markel found he soon stopped being invited to company meetings. As Bloomberg reports:

In September, according to the suit, WeWork hired someone with the same title as Markel who was about 20 years younger than him without explaining why. By January, internal systems showed that Markel reported to the new worker, and he was no longer getting invited to meetings. He told human resources in February that he thought he was being discriminated against for his age. He was told his role was being eliminated in April, less than a month before he would have started receiving stock options under a vesting schedule.

The gender discrimination lawsuit comes from Lisa Bridges, a former WeWork executive who oversaw compensation and benefits. Her lawsuit alleges that she faced retaliation after reporting evidence she found that suggested gender pay discrimination at the company. In just one example of gender pay discrimination, Bridges said she found that a woman working the same job as a man at WeWork’s U.K. offices made a salary of $85,000, while the man in the same job made a salary of $123,000.

After reporting this and other examples of gender discrimination, the lawsuit alleges that Bridges was told by WeWork’s current co-president, Jennifer Berrent, that the reason for the pay gap was that “men take risks and women don’t.” Shortly after reporting her findings to WeWork, Bridges alleges she was shut out of meetings at the company and eventually put on leave for breaching the company’s confidentiality policy.

WeWork has called Bridges’s lawsuit meritless. Both cases continue.

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