Woodline hedge fund sued for ‘misogynistic’ culture
Woodline hedge fund sued for ‘misogynistic’ culture

Hedge fund Woodline Partners co-founder Karl Kroeker is being sued by a former employee who claims he fostered a degrading work culture and made repeated sexual inappropriate remarks, while she is accused of a relationship with postpartum depression. was fired for fighting the disease.

Danielle di Bari, a 32-year-old executive who left the company in May, alleging in the lawsuit Kroeker, 51, repeatedly asked her and other EAs suggestive hypothetical questions, and she was fired after she was asked to work an extra day a week to accommodate postpartum depression.

The lawsuit, filed Aug. 3, says that “executives, all young women, should put up with lewd jokes, derogatory and insulting remarks, and other inappropriate behavior, while supporting predominantly male portfolio managers, analysts, and traders.” The incidents created a culture of hostility, intimidation, oppression and misogyny, the report said.

Woodlaine law firm Sidley Austin said in a statement that they were aware of a complaint.

“The company takes allegations related to its employees seriously and is committed to providing a supportive, equal opportunity workplace,” the statement added. “Woodline intends to defend itself. Generally, we do not comment further on pending litigation .”

Dibari’s law firm said it “looks forward to asserting her rights in court”.

The lawsuit, filed in California Superior Court, calls for a jury trial and alleges she suffered loss of past and future earnings, damage to her career, and psychological and emotional distress. She has accused the company of discrimination, retaliation and defamation and is seeking an undisclosed amount of damages.

When Woodline opened in 2019, the San Francisco-based company made one of the biggest debuts of the year. It managed to attract $2 billion in investment at a time when investors were weary of the high fees and mediocre performance of the hedge fund industry.The pedigree of its founders, Citadel alumnus Kroeker and Michael Rockefeller, 43, may help attract investors, and the company now manages about $6 billion.

Crook is the only co-founder named as a defendant in the suit.

Woodline had six administrative administrators, with two others serving in mixed EA and receptionist roles, the lawsuit says. It is said that this all-female team is mainly composed of EA between the ages of 23 and 33, the oldest of which is about 37 years old.

hypothetical question

The lawsuit details some examples of alleged misconduct, including some of the “what-if” questions Klerk is accused of asking over the past three years.

For example, according to Dibari, during company happy hours, Crook asked a group of EA women if they would be willing to have their boyfriends have a one-night stand that was purely physical, or an emotional affair that lasted for months. In May, she claimed, he took them to dinner and asked if they would choose a man who went to a bar when he gave birth, or a man who wore fake breasts for a year to help breastfeed. In both cases, he asked each woman to answer, the suit says.

The lawsuit details another alleged instance where a stranger was asked to take a picture of the group, with Klerk commenting: “If we get the phone back from that person and all the pictures are just cover Than boobs, what would you do?” he was referring to Dibari’s pregnant colleague. When Dibari said he couldn’t speak to her like that, he replied, “Oh, shouldn’t I have said that?” the lawsuit says.

In April, Woodline moved from fully telecommuting to requiring employees to be in the office at least three days a week, Dibarry said. She specifically asked to come two days a week because she was going through depression after returning from maternity leave last month.

She also questioned why Rockefeller, chief operating officer Matthew Hooker and portfolio manager Charlton Yu were allowed to work entirely remotely for much of the summer, her lawsuit said. Klerk wrote in an email that these young women are important to the hedge fund’s “brand” because “many of us are nerds and need a pep talk from you ladies,” Dibari claims. Hook and Yu was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

On May 22, at the company’s request, she presented a doctor’s certificate in support of a revised work arrangement. She said she was fired three days later.

The suit says that when Woodline fired Dibari, “it sent a loud and clear message of hostility to other female EAs, including at least one pregnant female EA. delivery-related conditions, Woodline Partners will terminate you without regard to your status as a woman, new mother, or your legal rights.”

Dibari joined Woodline in April 2019 at the age of 27 and was one of the company’s first roughly 20 employees, the lawsuit said.

FundFire earlier reported on Dibari’s lawsuit.

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