Woman General Counsel Alleges She Was Asked To Serve Cake, Then Fired When She Complained In New Lawsuit

Posted May 2nd, 2019.

As It Appeared On
Above the Law

The complaint alleges a ‘mass exodus’ of women from the company.

By KATHRYN RUBINO

We write about a lot of gender discrimination lawsuits here at Above the Law, and sometimes there are truly outrageous allegations in them. In the latest lawsuit, the allegations harken back to 1950s stereotypes of the work that women are best suited to do.

Plaintiff Nancy Saltzman was the general counsel and chief compliance officer at ExlService Holdings and filed a $20 million gender bias against the company on Monday. The complaint alleges that Exl CEO Rohit Kapoor and other male execs treated Saltzman as “inferior” and prevented her advancement — and the advancement of other women — at the company. The complaint alleges this treatment of women has led to a “mass exodus” of women from the company:

“The company’s routine marginalization of female employees has caused a mass exodus of women in senior leadership positions — all of whom have been swiftly replaced by men, including Ms. Saltzman.”

Saltzman alleges the situation at Exl reached a breaking point in May 2018 when she was asked to serve subordinates cake at an event “because she was one of four ‘ladies’ in attendance.” As any professional woman who has had the office housework foisted upon her, she was “humiliated and upset” by the request. But don’t worry, it gets worse. As reported by Law360, when Saltzman complained about the demeaning task, she alleges she was fired in response:

However, Exl’s board interpreted Saltzman’s complaint as a resignation and gave Kapoor the green light to fire her, which he did shortly thereafter, the complaint alleged.

“Defendants’ actions send a clear message to other women at Exl that opposition to the company’s discriminatory practices will result in dismissal,” Saltzman’s complaint said.

Saltzman is being represented in the litigation by Sanford Heisler Sharp — a firm that is very familiar to those following the spate of Biglaw gender discrimination cases.

Saltzman’s counsel, David Sanford of Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP, said his client “worked hard for 20 years to earn a seat at the table on Exl’s executive committee,” but that she “apparently found herself relegated to serving cake” once she got there.

Exl has not yet commented on the lawsuit.

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