Australian crypto firm Immutable has been granted a request to file a motion to strike parts of a lawsuit that claim a former employee was sexually harassed by her superior before being unjustly fired.
Immutable, which operates in the US, is backed by Sam Bankman-Fried’s defunct Alameda Research. New York-based Natalia Mazzuchelli filed a complaint against the crypto firm in September 2023.
Mazzuchelli, who previously worked at Meta as an executive for nine years, states she received her first negative performance review after revealing her pregnancy to her boss, who had made repeated attempts to sleep with her.
“Can you do this job pregnant?” her boss, Shirley Anderson, reportedly asked. After lodging a complaint with HR, Mazzuchelli says she was fired.
Immutable boss’ sexual advances not relevant to lawsuit, firm says
However, the lawsuit also alleges that Anderson sexually harassed Mazzuchelli since day one at Immutable. At their first meeting, her boss reportedly shared intimate details about her preference for “being choked” and throughout her tenure would pose “questions and stories about group sex, bisexuality, anal sex (and) extramarital affairs.”
On a work trip soon after her first day, Anderson allegedly took off her clothes in Mazzuchelli’s hotel room and “proceeded to touch her own breasts and asked Mazzuchelli whether she should get a boob job.” The new hire reportedly hid in the bathroom and called a friend to show up, which prompted Anderson to put her clothes back on and leave.
Sexual advancements allegedly continued. “In an obvious effort to lure Mazzuchelli into a sexual encounter, Anderson expressed her desire to sleep with more women and ‘keep exploring sexually,'” the lawsuit against Immutable claimed.
According to Immutable, however, these claims of sexual harassment don’t pertain to the lawsuit. Instead, Mazzuchelli’s lawsuit hinges on two things: whether she experienced gender-based discrimination due to her pregnancy, and whether she was fired as retaliation for filing a complaint.
“The complaint does not allege a sexual harassment cause of action,” Immutable argued in a letter to the court, requesting that those claims be struck from the case.
“Rather, the complaint’s material allegations (which Immutable categorically denies) are that, after plaintiff disclosed her pregnancy, she received a negative performance review, and then was terminated from her employment after she complained internally about perceived pregnancy-based discrimination.”
The court granted Immutable’s request to file a motion to strike these claims from the lawsuit. Both parties now have until January to prepare legal arguments.