- WeWork has been paying men significantly more than women, particularly in terms of stock-based compensation, according to a lawsuit filed earlier this year.
- In June last year and again in February, the company handed out to some employees equity grants of at least $US1 million each, and the recipients were “almost exclusively” men, according to the lawsuit.
- Of the February grants, 94% went to men, according to the suit, which The Information reported on as part of a larger story on problems in WeWork’s human-resources department.
- The WeWork executive who oversaw compensation at the company late last year and early this year accused WeWork in her lawsuit of ignoring her when she tried to call attention to the pay gap, later putting her on leave.
- Read all of Business Insider’s WeWork coverage here.
At WeWork, particularly at the top of its pay ladder, there’s a compensation imbalance between men and women, according to a lawsuit filed against the company earlier this year by its top compensation official.
The lawsuit, filed in New York state court in June by Lisa Bridges, alleges that the company generally paid women less than men, especially when it came to stock-based compensation awards. At the top of the pay scale, those differences were particularly acute, the lawsuit claims. In two separate groups of grants worth at least $US1 million each, the awards went “almost exclusively to men,” according to the suit.
In late 2018, Bridges “discovered that WeWork had a significant equal pay problem,” the suit said. “It was compensating women significantly less than men, particularly with respect to equity.”
WeWork has not yet filed a response to the suit.
The Information reported on the suit Tuesday as part of a larger piece about the departure of more than a dozen top human-resources officials from WeWork in recent years. HR Dive reported on the suit soon after it was filed in June.
Bridges joined WeWork in August of last year, according to the suit. She became a senior vice president in charge of compensation in October.
Soon after joining WeWork, she asked a human-resources team there to study how men and women were paid and to look particularly at equity grants, bonuses, and other incentives beyond base pay, according to the suit. A previous study undertaken before she joined had already found gender disparities in base pay, the suit said.
Bridges found a ‘glaring’ gender difference in pay
The study found that women were paid significantly less than men, particularly with regard to equity grants, according to the suit. It also found that the company had done a poor job of retaining and paying women at a senior level.
“The results of the analysis were glaring,” the suit said.
When Bridges attempted to raise the disparity with her superiors, particularly with Jennifer Berrent, WeWork’s copresident, she was ignored, according to the lawsuit, which went on to accuse Berrent of dismissing her concerns or giving sexist explanations for the disparity, such as arguing that “men take risks and women don’t.”
Bridges also discovered vast gender differences when it came to two groups of jumbo-size stock awards.
In June 2018, the company handed out stock-compensation awards worth $US1 million or more to some of its employees. The awards went “almost exclusively” to men, according to the suit.
A similar thing happened in February, the suit said. Of the 58 stock awards the company handed out that were valued at $US1 million or more, 55 – 94% – went to men, according to the lawsuit, in which Bridges alleges sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
WeWork has been drawing scrutiny lately over its treatment of women. Another former executive, Ruby Anaya, has also sued the company, alleging sexual harassment, which she said WeWork didn’t investigate.
Additionally, none of the directors of the company are women, the company disclosed in the paperwork it made public recently ahead of its planned initial public offering. And only 20% of the people who report directly to CEO Adam Neumann are women, according to The Information.
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