Alexis Berger, 32, was a successful marketing executive at mobile branding firm Kargo Global — a company she helped to grow into a booming $100 million a year business — until she was fired for, as an arbitrator put it, “acting like a man.” Several fellow executives started lodging complaints about her behavior — accusing her of being too emotional, aggressive and profane — even though Berger alleges that similar behavior from male colleagues went unpunished. Arbirator Billie Colombaro found that she had been wrongfully terminated and awarded her $41 million. “These men behaved in the same or worse manner as that for which Kargo disciplined Ms. Berger,” he wrote in an 83-page decision. “They criticized behavior from her that they would accept from a man to run her out of the company. It is clear from Kargo’s actions and collective attitude that a woman is not permitted to act like a man.” One male executive was confronted with several sexual discrimination complaints from other women employees, while another allegedly taunted Berger for being gay and talked about “flipping her back,” according to court documents.
Berger was making more than $1 million a year plus commission at the company, and had a $9 million stake in the firm. She is hoping a Manhattan federal court judge will uphold the arbitration, but Kargo denies any wrongdoing. “For 14 years, our company has endeavored to provide full and equal opportunities to our employees, and it is at the core of our culture. Alexis was a close friend of our founder and was the highest-paid executive in the entire company,” the company said in a statement. “We believe that the award rests upon a manifest disregard of the New York Law and will, at a minimum, be substantially set aside. We look forward to telling the full story in our upcoming legal filings.”
Read the full story at the The New York Post.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story indicated that a male executive at Kargo Global was the subject of sexual harassment complaints, when they were actually sexual discrimination complaints made to the company’s human resources department.