A former employee of luxury mattress maker Hästens filed a lawsuit against the company on Wednesday, alleging its CEO fostered a “deeply misogynistic and sexist work culture” and pushed his bizarre spiritual beliefs on staff, including hypnotherapy obligatory.
In the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court, Lizandra Vega claims that after joining the company in January 2020 as an executive recruiter, she suffered sexual harassment, wage disparities and a “vile and vile work culture. disturbing ”moderated by CEO Jan Ryde. When speaking, Vega said she faced “immediate retaliation and subsequent dismissal” on January 7.
His lawsuit, which lists Hästens and Ryde as defendants, calls for a jury trial and “an award of punitive damages.”
“Hästens’ control of the spiritual beliefs of its employees is a shameless abuse of corporate power that goes well beyond the limits of legal employment practices. Forcing employees to undergo spiritual guidance, evaluations by a ‘clairvoyant hypnotist’ on payroll, psychological manipulation – these are not the hallmarks of a safe or legal work environment, ”said lawyer Jeanne M. Christensen. de Vega, in a statement.
“The company’s willingness to blatantly retaliate against Ms. Vega for opposing gender discrimination in the workplace suggests that Hästens is not as ‘enlightened’ as he claims. We look forward to holding Hästens accountable for these disturbing and illegal practices, ”she added.
Hästens did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.
The Swedish mattress brand is world famous with famous clients including the Swedish royal family, Russian President Vladimir Putin and rapper Drake. He was also featured in the Netflix series Emily in Paris, and there is currently a waiting list of people willing to shell out $ 400,000 for one of his beds.
Vega’s lawsuit claims that while the brand boasts of staying “one step ahead of the lifestyle curve,” its business practices are lagging behind, with Ryde exhibiting “ubiquitous profanity” as well as “unprofessional conduct and illegal ”around its employees.
In a Jan. 31 zoom call with more than 114 employees, Ryde criticized employees who weren’t in front of the camera, saying, “All the losers who have their screens turned off – fuck yourself or open your screens . You are or you are absent ”, alleges the lawsuit.
The CEO has also attempted to control the spirituality of his employees by forcing them to be evaluated by a personal team of “mindset coaches” – including hypnotists and “high frequency vibration” individuals, the lawsuit says.
Workers would have been told to study “The Law of Attraction,” Spiral Dynamics, David Hawkins’ Ladder of Lights and The Four Chords, a self-help book. Ryde also employed Gregory Downey, described as his “right-hand man, personal advisor and mindset coach,” to teach employees how to properly follow these belief systems.
“Vega was expected to use that same matrix of belief systems to find and recruit executive talent,” the lawsuit says. “Forcing employees to use such a subjective and mystical approach to executive recruiting was a recipe for disaster, especially since Ms. Vega was told to ignore resumes and previous work experience. candidates in order to recruit “ cooler ”, younger people. , “More authentic”, or who had “enough self-love” and “abundance”. “
The employees also had to undergo evaluations on their vibratory frequencies and “light” from Peter Von Ah, “a clairvoyant and hypnotist on the wage bill of the Hästens company”, says the lawsuit. Vega said she and other employees were forced to attend daily sessions on Downey’s state of mind.
His lawsuit also claims that Ryde and other male leaders exhibited sexist and disturbing behavior. One example was on November 16, 2020, when Ryde emailed 18 of his top employees, including Vega, with a video full of swear words.
“Disgustingly, the video contains footage of a lion killing live prey,” the lawsuit says. “Under the pretext of being a ‘sales training’ video, the narrator compares salespeople to lions and comments that the male lion had to kill because he was ‘tired’ of waiting for the lioness to do so. “
The video was sent even after Marybeth Gregg, the global head of human resources, complained to Downey about an equally disturbing training tape, according to the lawsuit. When Gregg filed a second complaint about the November video, she was allegedly “mysteriously banned and excommunicated” from Hästens and “Vega and the other employees were prohibited” from contacting her.
After Von Ah determined that Gregg had “very low vibrations,” she was forced to take time to “think through” and become “fully transparent,” the lawsuit says.
Vega also complained about the November video, to which she was “suddenly and inexplicably” excluded from all [Ryde’s] email communications are moving forward, ”she says.
On January 7, Vega was fired, reportedly told by executives that she was no longer following their vision of recruiting. But knowing the legal provisions of her contract, “Hästens grabbed the horror of Covid-19 and in a bogus conditional offer” said she would not be fired if she traveled to New York three days a week to work in a WeWork, according to the trial. His salary, however, would still be reduced by 50 percent.
Outraged Ms Vega, who worked from home, asked why it was necessary for her to visit a WeWork office in the midst of a pandemic as infection rates skyrocketed and city leaders repeatedly urged individuals to stay at home unless absolutely necessary, ”says the lawsuit. Hästens reportedly told her that she had to go in person to “train her possible replacement.”
When she refused again, she was fired for the second time on January 26.
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