A marketing executive from New York has been awarded $40 million in a discrimination case, after being fired from her role for ‘behaving like a man.’
32-year-old Alexis Berger worked for Kargo Global, a mobile branding firm, helping build them into a world juggernaut that brought in $100 million a year.
Berger's salary was more than $1 million a year, plus commission, and she also had a $9 million stake in the company - talk about girl boss!
However, Berger was eventually dismissed after the company believed that she had been showing poor job performance, and was being rude to employees, violating a non-compete clause.
It is believed that other employees didn’t agree with Berger’s $1 million salary, calling it “insane” and “b------t”, while her personal relationship with Kargo CEO Harry Kargman also didn’t please colleagues.
She was placed on a 'Performance Improvement Plan' with 'unprofessional behavior' given as the cited reason, although Berger claimed that no examples were given of this behavior.
New York city arbitrator Jude Billie Colombaro shared Berger’s disagreement with the claims, citing sexual discrimination as being a ‘motivating factor’ in the former executives termination.
She said, “(it was) a collaborative orchestration carried out in a malicious, insidious, and humiliating manner, having the effect of depriving her of her earned commissions, her retention bonus, her stock options, her position, her livelihood, and her dignity.”
During the seven-day arbitration hearing, evidence alleged that the former exec 'used profane, inappropriately suggestive, and politically incorrect language.'
It was also alleged that she was 'too emotional', 'over sensitive', 'harsh' and a 'bully'. However, Berger claims that this is a double standard, and men were unaffected when they showed similar behaviour.
She also claimed that CEO Kargman allegedly filmed a video telling employees that he would ‘shave his balls’ if they met sales goals. And while he denied these allegations, he did admit to the use of bad language and has since hired a coach to help control his urges.
She also shed light on a fellow employee that would regularly make reference to her sexuality. Berger - who identifies as a lesbian - claimed that a colleague, Kevin Canty, would commonly make reference to her sexuality and once suggested a threesome between the former exec and her partner.
In a statement to AdWeek, the company said: “For 14 years, our company has endeavored to provide full and equal opportunities to our employees, and it is at the core of our culture.
“Alexis was a close friend of our founder and was the highest paid executive in the entire company. We believe that the award rests upon a manifest disregard of the NY Law and will, at a minimum, be substantially set aside. We look forward to telling the full story in our upcoming legal filings.