The eclectic e-commerce company Nasty Gal made headlines this week after a lawsuit filed by a former employee surfaced. The retailer has been accused of wrongfully terminating pregnant employees, according to a lawsuit filed this March by a former employee. The suit claims that the company illegally fired Concepcion and three other employees after learning of their pregnancies.
According to the lawsuit (originally reported by Jezebel), Aimee Concepcion was hired by Nasty Gal in late 2013 to create and build a home goods section for the company and she consistently received stellar reviews from her supervisors. Soon after informing her boss of her pregnancy, she learned that she was being terminated. The suit alleges that among those also being let go from the company were another pregnant woman, a woman about to return from maternity leave, and a man who was gearing up to go on paternity leave.
Concepcion alleges that Nasty Gal offered incomplete and inaccurate information about California maternity laws. Furthermore, the company offered to let her to continue working up to her delivery, suggesting that her termination was not due to poor work performance or the elimination of the position within the company.
This suit undermines the message of female empowerment that is central to the company’s brand. The company, founded in 2006 by Sophia Amoruso, encourages women to make a personal statement through fashion. Amuroso wrote a best-selling book and coined a popular hashtag last year called #Girlboss that detailed her rise to success and offered suggestions for savvy women to achieve their goals. Amoruso stepped down as CEO this year, but remains the public face of the company.
A rep for Nasty Gal stated, “The accusations made in the lawsuits article are false, defamatory and taken completely out of context. The layoffs in question were part of a larger restructuring of departments we completed over nine months ago. The lawsuits are frivolous and without merit.” Amoruso recently posted a tweet that expresses disappointment in Jezebel’s reportage of the controversy.