Three women have filed a lawsuit against Silicon Valley start-up Synapse, accusing the company of harassing women and discriminating against them.
The plaintiffs, Asya Bradley, Taylor Sims and Mharie Fraser, allege that CEO Sankaet Pathak was verbally abusive and antagonized them in meetings and in private. He “undermined, intimidated, and toyed with the female employees,” and made “overt, graphic sexual comments in front of and to female employees and demeaned and belittled them.”
The plaintiffs, who all left the company or were fired within the last two years, also claimed that Pathak “screamed and cursed at the female employees and would block the door to intimidate them from leaving conference rooms.” They said he didn’t do this to male employees.
The lawsuit also alleges that Synapse discriminated against one employee because she had more than one child while working at the company. Pathak told employees that she had too many babies and was taking advantage of the company by using maternity leave.
According to the suit, Pathak also made inappropriate comments to one woman because of her age. He allegedly told her that the male employees she was eating lunch with on her first day weren’t into mom types. He also believed that the company didn’t have many older workers because they need fresh perspectives to do the job right.
Synapse, a start-up that helps companies launch banking products, has raised approximately $100 million in funding thus far. The company’s technology makes it possible for other fintechs to work with existing banks with ease.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time a company has been accused of discriminating against female employees. In October, Andrea Martin Inoken, filed a racial and discrimintion lawsuit against Pimco, claiming she was passed over for promotions and denied career opportunities after becoming pregnant.
Inoken alleged that Pimco operated as a “fraternity in a perversely literal sense” and that “senior male officers encourage drinking and fraternisation at strip clubs, golf outings and poker nights.”
Inoken said that despite her record of superior performance, the company paid her less than similarly situated men.
“Compensation and promotional decisions at Pimco are centrally controlled by its managing directors with considerations also provided by Pimco’s executive committee and through its executive officers that when viewed collectively are predominantly Caucasian male professionals,” the lawsuit said.