32-year-old Alexis Berger, a former executive at Kargo Global, was fired for being too aggressive, too emotional, and too profane — or ‘acting like a man.’
She was awarded $41 million.
via NY Post:
Alexis Berger, 32, raked in more than $1 million a year plus commissions for Kargo Global, which she helped build into a $100-million-a-year global juggernaut, court papers say. She also had a $9 million stake in the mobile-branding firm.
She was fired last year — partly so other company executives could “try to claw back” her stake in the booming business, Berger says in court papers.
Berger, who claimed she was discriminated against and wrongly terminated, wants a Manhattan federal court judge to uphold her hefty arbitration award.
During her four-year stint at the company, Kargo grew from $5 million in annual revenue to $135 million last year. Berger oversaw two sales regions, and supervised about 30 employees.
But other Kargo executives started targeting her with vague complaints about her behavior — even though plenty of bad boys at the company needed lessons in business manners, arbitrator Billie Colombaro found.
They included one male executive who sparked sexual harassment complaints and another so “hotheaded” that his temper impacted the workplace.
“These men behaved in the same or worse manner as that for which Kargo disciplined Ms. Berger,” noted Colombaro.
One of the men taunted Berger as a gay woman. He talked about “flipping her back” and asked her and her partner to participate in a threesome, according to court papers.
“They criticized behavior from her that they would accept from a man to run her out of the company. It is clear from Kargo’s actions and collective attitude that a woman is not permitted to act like a man,” Colombaro wrote in an 83-page decision.
“Obviously, being a ‘pit bull’ — having a ‘personality trait of aggressiveness’ — was not only considered to be a positive approach and an expectation, it was also part of Kargo’s culture for men. Ms. Berger was the only one faulted for it,” the arbitrator wrote.
Berger, who is represented by lawyer Seth Raskin, says in court papers that her Kargo colleagues embarked on “a campaign .?.?. to break a woman.”
Kargo wants the award slashed and denies wrongdoing. It said in a statement that Berger 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 NY Law,” the company said. “We look forward to telling the full story in our upcoming legal filings.”