Emily Forsythe has filed a lawsuit against Wayfair, claiming the online furniture retailer didn’t do anything to stop the sexual harassment she endured from a coworker.
According to the lawsuit, Forsythe was sexually harassed over several months by a man she oversaw in her role as an associate director of industrial engineering at Wayfair in 2019.
Forsythe claims that he pursued a relationship with her and made repeated unwanted physical contact. He ran his hand down her blouse beginning above her cleavage toward her waist. When she moved away, he just laughed and walked away. She says that he became combative after she rejected his advances.
The lawsuit also accuses another Wayfair employee of discriminating against her in retaliation for complaining about the alleged harassment. She was excluded from meetings and email communications.
When Forsythe complained to Wayfair about the treatment she received, they deemed her complaints unfounded. After she announced that she planned to file a discrimination complaint on Sept. 22, the company fired her.
Wayfair has denied all the allegations in the lawsuit.
“We take any reports of potential misconduct very seriously and, in this situation, immediately conducted a thorough investigation into the matter,” the statement reads. “We did not find any merit to the allegations and intend to provide those details in court. We are highly focused on ensuring a safe and inclusive workplace for all of our employees.”
Forsythe’s lawyer, Robert Goodman, said that Wayfair’s response to her harassment complaints were inadequate and unusual.
“They were insensitive to the sexual harassment and bullying that was presented to them and did not react in what I would consider a typical manner dealing with the large number of cases, including sexual harassment cases that I do,” he said. “And then they basically relied upon denials by the alleged harasser and retaliator to say no harassment, no retaliation. That’s what I think is the real problem here: Just because someone denies something doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”
The lawsuit seeks back pay, court fees and other damages.