“Million Dollar Baby” – Pregnant Worker Files Discrimination Lawsuit against Zendesk
September 29, 2021
“We call your baby the million-dollar baby because you lost out on a million dollars of wages since you took a full maternity leave,” chided Zendesk Director Matt Ingebrigtsen on a team video conference. This was just one of many harassing comments hurled at his female subordinate after learning that she was pregnant and taking leave.
Suing under a pseudonym, “Jane Roe” alleges that, despite being a top sales performer at Zendesk for over 6 years, she was subjected to a pattern of harassment immediately after informing her boss that she was pregnant and planning to take maternity leave. According to the complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court on 9/29/21, Ingebrigtsen prodded and humiliated her with comments like, “I’m going to tell my wife to have a fourth baby so I can get six months off!” and “If you were only gone for three weeks, you could keep your territory.”
Roe complained about these and other harassing remarks to Aaron Schilke, her new director, as well as Human Resources, but was met with indifference. Instead of taking action to stop the harassing and discriminatory conduct, Roe had her valuable sales territory stripped away and was denied participation in the company’s Rising Star program. Men at Zendesk, even those taking paternity leave, do not suffer the same indignities. As a result of this misconduct, Roe was relegated to a different role, with substantially less upside potential.
“Despite significant progress in the tech space over the past few years, this is a prime example of a company that refuses to look in the mirror and recognize the damage to their workforce, their brand, and their community,” said Matt Matern, Roe’s attorney. “It’s incredibly frustrating that Zendesk would condone this type of behavior.”
View the full Jane Roe vs. Zendesk Complaint PDF >>
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