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A for­mer top aide to WeWork co-founder Adam Neu­mann is ac­cus­ing him and other ex­ec­u­tives of dis­crim­i­nat­ing against her for be­com­ing preg­nant.

NEW YORK (AP) — A for­mer top aide to WeWork co-founder Adam Neu­mann is ac­cus­ing him and other ex­ec­u­tives of dis­crim­i­nat­ing against her for be­com­ing preg­nant.

Me­d­ina Bardhi says in a fed­eral com­plaint filed Thurs­day that she was de­moted, de­rided for go­ing on leave, and ul­ti­mately fired for rais­ing con­cerns.

Bardhi, who was Neu­mann’s chief of staff un­til she was fired in Oc­to­ber, is seek­ing class ac­tion sta­tus against New York-based WeWork, claim­ing a pat­tern of dis­crim­i­na­tion against women at the of­fice-shar­ing com­pany.

The com­plaint, filed with the Equal Em­ploy­ment Op­por­tu­nity Com­mis­sion, de­scribes a cul­ture at WeWork in which women were paid less than men, de­meaned for get­ting preg­nant and sub­jected to sex­u­ally of­fen­sive con­duct at al­co­hol-fu­eled com­pany events.

“Our hope is that this class ac­tion com­plaint will send a loud and clear mes­sage to WeWork and other star­tups that preg­nant women can­not be forced out of their jobs, that women must be paid fairly and af­forded equal op­por­tu­ni­ties,” said Dou­glas Wig­dor, Bardhi’s at­tor­ney.

WeWork spokes­woman Gwen Rocco said the com­pany will “vig­or­ously de­fend it­self against” Bardhi’s claim. “We have zero tol­er­ance for dis­crim­i­na­tion of any kind. We are com­mit­ted to mov­ing the com­pany for­ward and build­ing a com­pany and cul­ture that our em­ploy­ees can be proud of,” Rocco said.

The com­plaint raises a new chal­lenge for WeWork as it tries to re­gain the con­fi­dence of its em­ploy­ees, in­vestors and cus­tomers in the wake of a failed at­tempt to en­ter the stock mar­ket. Neu­mann stepped down as CEO on Sept. 24 and gave up his con­trol­ling shares of the com­pany in a fi­nanc­ing deal with Ja­pa­nese con­glom­er­ate Softbank that saved WeWork from pos­si­ble bank­ruptcy. Bardhi said the dis­crim­i­na­tory be­hav­ior be­gan with her first job in­ter­view at WeWork in 2013, when Neu­mann “un­law­fully and in­tru­sively” asked her if she planned to get mar­ried and be­come preg­nant. The com­plaint claimed that Neu­mann rou­tinely asked that ques­tion of fe­male job can­di­dates.

AP-Yon­hap

Adam Neu­mann, WeWork’s co-founder, is seen in this Jan. 16, 2018 file photo.

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