Foundry Networks Slapped With Bias Suit
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A bombshell was dropped on Foundry Networks Inc., a supplier of high performance switching and routing solutions, late Thursday when a former executive filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the company for discrimination and harassment.
Drusie Demopoulos, former vice president of marketing for the company, alleged that she was fired after objecting to "discrimination and consistent harassment" by Foundry's Chief Executive Officer Bobby R. Johhnson Jr. Demopoulos claimed that by firing her the company was able to reclaim her stock options and increase its quarterly and yearly earnings statements.
Demopoulos is seeking the return of her stock options and other relief. She said that at the date of her firing she was unvested of 11 1/2 months of stock worth about $65 million.
In a statement released Friday morning, Foundry said it learned of Demopoulos' lawsuit through a press release and that it has not been served with papers.
"Foundry denies any wrongdoing and if Foundry is served the company will defend itself vigorously," the company said.
In her suit, Demopoulos claimed Johnson repeatedly invaded her privacy and was hostile to employees with children or those who wanted children. She alleged Johnson screened job applicants on the basis of appearance, family status, and where they lived. In addition, she claimed Johnson instructed her not to hire anyone who indicated a plan to have children.
"Throughout my three years with the company, I was harassed about who I dated, getting married and having children," Demopoulos said. "I suffered through two miscarriages. I don't want anyone to have to go through what I did."
Ms. Demopoulos also claimed she received calls from Johnson at all hours of the night, questioning her dedication to the company. She said she and her staff were berated for not working every weekend or more than 12 hours per day, and when she sent an e-mail to Johnson claiming that is abuse and job stress contributed to two miscarriages he had her terminated and escorted from the building.
"Despite helping to lead thhe company to what at the time was the second largest IPO in history, I was fired," Demopoulos said. "The CFO told me that Mr. Johnson felt that it was better for me to leave the company because I wanted to have a child."
The lawsuit was filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court.