On July 26, 2023, Wigdor LLP filed a sex discrimination case on behalf of Andrea Riggs against Akamai Technologies (“Akamai”), Jason Hickey, James Massey, Patrick Sullivan and Stephen Goldstein. The allegations demonstrate a decade-long pattern of harassing and violent behavior directed towards Ms. Riggs.
Throughout her tenure at Akamai, Ms. Riggs was subjected to a barrage of sexist and sexually explicit comments from her male supervisors and colleagues, in addition to suffering sexual and physical assaults. Examples of this harassment include being:
- Sexually assaulted in front of male colleagues by an Akamai client while in the front seat of a taxi. Ms. Riggs’s intoxicated male colleagues directed a male customer to sit on her lap over her objection, and he proceeded to grab one of her breasts so hard that he left bruises. The attack was recorded and later played it back in Akamai’s offices for the amusement of other male Akamai employees.
- Physically assaulted by Defendant James Massey, who grabbed Ms. Riggs by the forearms, pushed her backward and pinned her against a wall while screaming at her. Akamai never disciplined Mr. Massey for assaulting Ms. Riggs.
- Denied a promotion because, according to her male boss, “Andrea has five kids and is going through a difficult divorce, so the timing is not good for her.” Akamai hired a man instead.
- Repeatedly subjected to comments about her sex life, including, “Why don’t you sleep with your ex-husband’s friends,” “You need to get your chimney cleaned,” and “If you don’t use it, Andrea, it will shrivel up.”
Ms. Riggs was a remarkable employee despite the misogynistic environment and earned numerous company awards, including being a two-time winner of Akamai’s prestigious Titan Award (bestowed upon the “best of the best”), a seven-time member of the Akamai’s 100% Club, a recipient of the “Top Gun Award Winner for Outstanding Sales Achievement,” and a three-time Employee of the Month.
Despite these achievements, Akamai effectively pushed out Ms. Riggs because of her sex. Unfortunately, Riggs was not the only woman who suffered discrimination at Akamai. Other high-performing women voiced concerns about similar treatment at Akamai over the years, and as a result, many of them left the company.
Statement from Valdi Licul, Partner at Wigdor LLP:
“No one should have to suffer through verbal and physical sexual humiliation the way Andrea has. Nor should any working mother be denied advancement because of obsolete stereotypes about her capabilities. We look forward to shining a light on the ’boys’ club’ culture at Akamai and holding the company accountable for its mistreatment of our client.”