A former accounting manager for a digital media company is suing the Burbank-based business, alleging the company’s CFO repeatedly passed her over for promotions because she is a woman, denied her a promised bonus and wrongfully fired her in January.
Eleni Christofi’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit against Electric Monster Media Inc. alleges wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation failure to prevent discrimination and various state Labor Code violations. She seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
An EMM representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit brought Wednesday.
Christofi was hired in December 2018 by FBE as an accounting administrative assistant before it was acquired by EMM in late 2021 and her job duties included responsibility for accounting and payroll, the suit states. She received two promotions in 2019 as well as pay increases, according to the suit.
After the EMM acquisition of FBE, EMM CFO Ian Haft was one of the people Christofi reported to, the suit states.
“When plaintiff started reporting to Ian Haft, plaintiff’s work experience changed,” the suit alleges.
Haft would discriminate, demean and yell at women in the workplace, including Christofi, according to the suit.
Christofi told Haft, “I am trying to do my best here with no training,” but felt emotionally distraught and would cry during the interactions, the suit states.
Haft promoted three men over Christofi after two women quit, partly because of his alleged discriminatory behavior, the suit states. He also allegedly gave the plaintiff more work without additional pay and made false promises of a bonus payment, the suit states.
Christofi had a panic attack in March 2022, but Haft was unsympathetic, according to the suit, which further states that when Christofi became under Haft’s direct supervision, she was required to work 12 to 16 hour days and that Haft contacted her during non-business hours.
Through it all, Christofi achieved results and financial benefits for EMM, the suit states.
In August 2022, due to a failed merger, EMM laid off eight women, but only four men, the suit states.
On Jan. 3, EMM fired Christofi during a company meeting in which Haft told the plaintiff, “We have decided to terminate your position and therefore terminate you,” the suit states.
Christofi believes she was fired because of her gender and for complaining about unpaid monies, including a bonus Haft allegedly promised her, the suit states. Haft had Christofi train her newly hired male supervisor just before firing her, the suit states.