On November 13, 2019, Wigdor LLP filed a gender discrimination and Equal Pay Act lawsuit on behalf of Mona Moazzaz against MetLife, one of the largest insurance companies in the world. Ms. Moazzaz was the Chief Administrative Officer at MetLife and worked closely with the company’s current and former CEO as well as many of the highest-ranking executives at MetLife. Also named Defendants in the lawsuit are MetLife’s CEO Michel Khalaf, former CEO Steven Kandarian, former CHRO Frans Hijkoop, current CHRO Susan Podlogar, and MetLife’s Head of Human Resources for Global Technology and Operations Gary Hediger.
As alleged in the Complaint, Ms. Moazzaz was subjected to various discriminatory actions while employed at MetLife, including being called a “b*tch” and told, “if you want to be promoted, you need to choose between being pretty and being smart because men can’t put you in both boxes.” Ms. Moazzaz was also paid hundreds of thousands of dollars less than men who were doing either the exact same work or work that was less demanding, as alleged. As set forth in the lawsuit, Ms. Moazzaz complained multiple times to MetLife about the discrimination to which she was subjected, but no remedial action was taken.
The Complaint also states that MetLife received an “F” from Arjuna Capital with respect to its gender pay gap.
Finally, as set forth in the complaint, in late 2018 Ms. Moazzaz authored a “CEO candidate strategy” for one of the candidates seeking to fill the CEO role upon Mr. Kandarian’s departure; the strategy highlighted gaps in diversity, poor capital market performance (18th out of 22 industry competitors), financial discipline and regulatory scrutiny surrounding multiple risk issues (resulting in charges of $331 million to $2 billion). Shortly after Mr. Khalaf took on the CEO role, Ms. Moazzaz was unlawfully terminated in retaliation for engaging in protected activity, the lawsuit alleges.
Ultimately, as alleged, Ms. Moazzaz was unlawfully terminated by @Metlife — just days after Michel Kalaf assumed the role of #Metlife's CEO — because she made protected complaints about the company's gaps in diversity, among many other issues. https://t.co/DyTAa6hHi1
— Douglas Wigdor – Wigdor Law (@WigdorLaw) November 13, 2019
Statement from Michael J. Willemin, Partner at Wigdor LLP:
“It is completely unacceptable for companies to pay women hundreds of thousands of dollars less than men who do the same or less work. Yet, according to the Complaint, that is exactly what MetLife did with respect to Ms. Moazzaz. This is unfortunately unsurprising given that MetLife has been given an ‘F’ with respect to its gender pay gap and, as alleged, high level members of leadership are permitted to make discriminatory comments about women in the workplace with impunity.”