A former sales rep for Spotify claims that the music-streaming giant is an old boys’ club that discriminates against women with male-only, drug-fueled trips, including one to Atlantic City where the men visited strip clubs, according to a new lawsuit.
Hong Perez says in her Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit that she was hired in July 2015 as East Coast head of sales for the music company and during her two years there she witnessed unprofessional and discriminating practices toward women — including that the head of human resources said at a company meeting that the c-word is his favorite swear word.
Perez “became increasingly concerned about Spotify’s culture with respect to its treatment of women,” the court documents say.
She said she was excluded from work trips, including to the Sundance Film Festival in 2016 and 2017, hosted by her boss, Brian Berner — which were referred to among employees as Berner’s “boys trips” that were only attended by male employees. The men were known to do drugs on the trips, the suit alleges.
One male employee — who received multiple warnings from the company for sexually harassing co-workers — allegedly took other managers to strip clubs in Atlantic City, according to the court papers.
She also claims male employees are paid more than their female counterparts and one male employee with sexual harassment complaints against him was even promoted, the court documents say.
The suit also claims that Spotify’s CFO said publicly that he doesn’t care about diversity.
Further, Perez says she was unfairly fired in July 2018 after she was blamed for her Berner’s mistake in which he accepted concert tickets in exchange for brokering a business deal.
“As part of the deal, Berner sought and accepted tickets for concerts at Madison Square Garden from one of the would-be parties to the agreement,” the suit says, adding that shortly after Berner came under internal scrutiny, “It became obvious that Berner had been telling Internal Audit that [Perez] was to blame for his mess.”
Berner fired her for violating the company’s code of conduct, and if that wasn’t enough, Berner then sent an embarrassing email to hundreds of employees and executives saying she was fired for breaking company rules, the court papers say.
But when a male employee was fired for asking clients for drugs and for sexually harassing female coworkers, Berner only sent an email to a small group and asked them to keep the incident quiet, the suit claims.
Perez — who sued for defamation and gender discrimination — wants to be paid for lost past and future wages and other unspecified damages.
“At Spotify, we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind at any level,” a rep for Spotify said when asked about the suit, adding, “While we cannot comment on the specific details of a pending litigation, these claims are without merit.”