Better.com Fires Workers on Parental Leave, Claims Lawsuit

A former Better director is suing the lender for allegedly firing him less than an hour after he requested that his previously granted paternity leave begin immediately after the birth of his daughter. increase.

A late August layoff round that affected 26 workers included 17 who were already on maternity or parental leave or were close to it, according to a lawsuit filed by former director of management Ryan Pugh. In a complaint filed Friday in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Peugh accuses Better of retaliation under the Family Medical Leave Act.

More affected employees are in a similar situation, claims Pew attorney Marjorie Messidor, a partner at Phillips & Associates. She declined to comment further.

“We believe these individuals were targeted for dismissal, at least initially, because of their status,” she said in an email Tuesday morning.

A representative for Better did not return a request for comment.

Better once had more than 10,000 employees, 72% cut in salary In the first six months of the year, several large layoff rounds moved in response to the shrinking mortgage market.The company also proposed voluntary separation to some of its employees.

According to the lawsuit, Peugh joined Better in November 2020 as senior manager of product management and was promoted in October 2021, earning $350,000 a year with an additional bonus of 20% of his annual salary. In June, he contacted Kayla Nicholson, Larkin Group’s leave representative, to request his father’s leave from September 1 to November 23, which was granted on July 1.

Better changed its leave policy in August, automatically reducing the 12 weeks of parental leave to four weeks, according to the lawsuit. Peugh’s daughter was born on her August 26th, and at 10:52 a.m. that day, he told his Nicholson that his daughter was born and that he would request his father’s leave immediately. At 11:33 a.m., he received a voicemail from an unidentified representative stating that his employment was terminated due to “company layoffs.”

Peug said no further explanation or justification for his dismissal was provided. Better employees who were laid off conducted internal research and polls, according to the complaint, and found that the majority of employees affected by the company’s layoff round had already taken maternity or parental leave, or had not taken it. I have confirmed that I am planning to

The lawsuit cites the FMLA Act of 1993, which provides that eligible employees are entitled to 12 weeks of leave for childbirth and subsequent care, and employers are entitled to that right. You are not legally permitted to interfere, suppress or deny.

The lawsuit did not specify the amount of damages sought by Peugh. The case was assigned to a judge and an electronic subpoena was sent to Better’s office on Monday, according to court records.

Better still file a lawsuit Sarah Pierce, the company’s former deputy commander, has accused the lender of misleading investors about its financial performance and retaliating against her for raising concerns. We asked the court to allow a motion to amend the original complaint to add the charge of retaliation.

Following the first complaint to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in June about Better, the lender prematurely called a loan held by Pierce and canceled the post-term contract to extinguish her balance in March. Better also filed a lawsuit against Pierce on the matter in the New York State Supreme Court, attorneys said.

Pierce’s OSHA complaint is scheduled to be filed in federal court around Nov. 28, her attorney said in a filing. According to the lawsuit, she seeks compensatory damages of more than $25 million and punitive damages of more than $50 million.

The company did not respond to a request for comment on Pierce’s lawsuit.

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