Hong Perez, a former sales executive for Spotify filed a lawsuit claiming gender discrimination, equal pay violations and defamation. The lawsuit was filed in New York Supreme Court and claimed that Spotify’s US Head of Sales, Brian Berner, excluded women from numerous networking trips to the Sundance Film Festival in 2016 and 2017. Perez referred to the trips as “boys’ trips.” She also referenced drug use on the trips and claimed that one of the male employees got into a “fight” during one of the trips.
Perez’ lawsuit lists other cases of gender discrimination at Spotify. One such case included a male Spotify managers trip to an Atlantic City strip club. Another discussed a male employee of Spotify who received a promotion after a sexual harassment complaint was filed against him. Still another alleges that a Spotify Human Resources executive told staff in the midst of a meeting what his favorite curse word was, and it happened to be a derogatory slur against women.
In the lawsuit, Perez states that the same HR Head advised Perez that he had a “soft spot” for one male employee accused of harassment and went easy on him for this reason. The CFO allegedly remarked at a town hall meeting that he did not care about diversity at the company. Perez also claims that higher compensation is provided to male employees. She also accused Berner of defamation. After Berner accepted free tickets to New York’s Madison Square Garden, he was reprimanded. To avoid disciplinary action, Berner blamed Perez. The situation escalated until Berner fired Perez from the company.
Spotify responded to the suit and the allegations it contained by publicly stating that they do not tolerate discrimination of any kind at any level of the company. They referenced their inability to comment on specific details related to the pending litigation, but insisted the claims made in the lawsuit file by Perez were without merit.
If you have concerns about gender discrimination or if you are experiencing discrimination in the workplace, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.