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Report: WeWork disputes claim that ‘frat boy culture’ led to sex assaults at company events

October 12, 2018 - 2:12 pm
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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- 'Entitled, frat boy culture,' led to a pair of sexual assaults at WeWork company events, a suit by a former employee claims.

Ruby Anaya, 33, worked as director of product management, and director of culture at WeWork and claims she was assaulted at company events in 2017 and 2018.

A lawsuit alleges that Anaya was groped while standing in a crowd of employees at a 'Summer Camp' even in August 2017, NBC4 reports.

She claims she took the man's hands off of her, and that the man smiled and walked away. Anaya says she reported the incident to HR the next day, but the employee claimed he was 'black-out drunk' and didn't remember the encounter, the suit alleges.

The suit claims Anaya was attacked once again after stepping off the stage at a January 2018 summit. The suit claims she tripped over her heels and stumbled as she navigated a large and alcohol-infused crowd.” She claims she was forcibly kissed when she put her hand on a man's shoulder to steady herself. Anaya alleges that she slapped the man and pushed him away, but he 'just smiled at her.'

NBC4 reports, Anaya says she reported the incident to HR, but didn't hear back for a month -- the investigation was eventually closed out.

According to the suit, the accused said he, "had ‘no recollection’ of the incident and… ‘would have remembered if he had been slapped.’” It also claims that appeals to WeWork's Chief People Officer, Miguel McKelvey went unanswered.

The suit claims Anaya was let go in August over complaints that an employee who allegedly assaulted her was still working with the company, as well as concerns that she voiced over pay disparities.

“The sexual harassment and assaults of [Anaya] did not happen in a vacuum,” the suit says. “They are product in part of the entitled, frat-boy culture that permeates WeWork from the top down.”

NBC4 reports that the suit claims Anaya was offered tequila during an interview with WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann, employees are pressured to attend alcohol fueled happy hours on Fridays, and attendance is mandatory at 'alcohol and drugladen summits.'

WeWork has called the claims 'meritless' and said the company will 'fight this lawsuit,' NBC4 reports.

A spokesperson says Anaya, “received negative performance reviews, including one more than a year before she was terminated,” and was, “rated as one of the lowest performers on her team, based on feedback from her peers and managers.”

A statement from WeWork also claims that Anaya had acknowledged that she hadn't been showing up to work regularly.

“She even expressed concerns about her performance to a colleague shortly before her termination," a spokesperson said.

WeWork adds that Friday happy hour events are not mandatory, and that summit events are business meetings with a 'single evening event.'

The suit seeks lost wages and benefits, in addition to attorney and court fees.