Two people who used to work for Mark Zuckerberg and his wife have filed a pair of lawsuits against the Facebook CEO and his partner. The lawsuits also name Zuckerberg’s family-related corporate entities.
The cases allege that the Zuckerberg family companies are responsible for sexual harassment and discrimination allegedly committed by others who work for the companies. The lawsuits, as reported by NBC News name both Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan as defendants and allege that they were ultimately responsible for the wrongdoings of their employees.
The cases also allege that the billionaire couple failed to pay wages.
NBC News reports that the plaintiffs are Mia King and an unnamed John Doe. Facebook is not involved in either lawsuit, both of which were filed last month in San Francisco County Superior Court.
A spokesperson for the Chan-Zuckerberg family, Ben LaBolt, told Insider, which first reported on the allegations that “separate multi week investigations into the allegations” found that “these allegations could not be substantiated.” The spokesperson said that the family office takes all such allegations seriously and investigates them.
The spokesperson added that the family office is confident that the claims will fail in court. He referred to the lawsuits as seeking to “unfairly disparage our colleagues.”
The court filings describe Mia King as a black woman and a member of the LGBTQ community who worked as a “Security Operations Assistant” for Limitless Specialty Services LLC between May 2018 through February 2019. Limitless reportedly provides security for the Zuckerberg family.
The John Doe plaintiff is described as an openly gay man who worked as a “Household Operations Manager” for the Zuckerberg family from January 2017 to March 2019.
King claims she was subjected to a multitude of degrading remarks, including being called “ghetto.” She also claims that she was called a c*nt and a b*tch and that other employees had made inappropriate remarks about her breasts.
King alleges that when she first brought up her complaints internally, a female colleague informed her that “men are in leadership here,” and that “men are in power.” King claims that the female employee’s remarks condoned the situation.
She further alleges that she was forced to work overtime without additional pay.
The New York Post reports:
Her manager at the firm, Liam Booth, repeatedly made statements that she was not qualified for her position and that she was only hired because she is a black woman, according to the suit, which was filed in California state court late last month.
On multiple occasions, Booth also said King’s hairstyle was “unprofessional” and referred to her and other black people as “ghetto,” the suit alleges.
The other plaintiff, John Doe, claims that he was not compensated for working more than 40 hours per week and more than eight hours per day, arguing that he was “forced to work seventeen-hour days to prepare a property prior to the Zuckerbergs' arrival” and was not given his due in overtime pay.
Doe claims he suffers from epilepsy and was compelled to do jobs that worsened his condition or posed a danger to his health, such as lifting heavy objects or climbing ladders. He also alleges that he was sexually harassed and subjected to anti-gay slurs.
For now, no hearings have been scheduled for the case and neither Zuckerberg nor any of the other defendants have formally responded to the allegations in court.
The lawsuit against the Zuckerbergs comes weeks after Elon Musk’s electric car company Tesla was ordered to pay $137 million to a black employee who sued the company for racial discrimination. In the Tesla case, the employee, who worked as an elevator operator, alleged that he and others were called racial slurs by Tesla employees.