Last week, the music streaming service Spotify came under attack, with allegations of systematic gender discrimination within the company’s U.S. sales team. The plaintiff, Hong Perez, was a sales executive at Spotify. She has filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court of New York, alleging gender discriminatory behavior by numerous high-ranking executives within the organization.
According to the lawsuit, female employees across the board receive lower pay and less company equity than their male counterparts in equivalent positions.
Perez’s lawsuit illustrates a company culture that permits men to behave disrespectfully towards women—with no real repercussions. Perez describes one male executive who—after being reprimanded for workplace sexual harassment—was promoted. She quoted the chief financial officer as stating that he doesn’t care about diversity. A human resources executive purportedly announced at a company-wide meeting that his favorite curse word is “c#nt.”
According to the lawsuit, female employees were also excluded from work excursions—referred to in the company as “boys’ trips”—even if they had equal or higher company ranking than the selected employees. Perez reported an all-male trip to the Sundance film festival and to a strip club in Atlantic City—which involved drug use and a physical altercation with one of the employees. These employees faced no disciplinary action for their behavior.
Perez’s tenure at the company came to a head when her boss got into trouble for accepting free event tickets from a buyer during contract negotiations. He used Perez as a scapegoat—firing her in order to protect himself.
Perez is suing for gender discrimination and defamation. She is seeking compensation for:
- Past and future lost wages and benefits
- Past and future equity incentives
- Emotional distress and humiliation
Gender discrimination in the workplace is illegal—and victims of such treatment have the right to seek justice. If you’ve been harmed by gender discrimination, it’s worth consulting with an employment law attorney experienced in discrimination claims to understand your recourse.