Current’s ex-head of talent sues neobank in alleged discrimination
- Current, a New York City-based neobank, is being sued for sex, race and age discrimination by its former head of talent, who claims the fintech fired her shortly before she was set to return from medical leave.
- Isabelle Mitura claims Alex Sergiyenko, Current’s head of people, demeaned her in front of colleagues on multiple occasions, referring to her as “an old Asian woman with no kids,” according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
- The suit also alleges CEO Stuart Sopp “expressed frustration at having to interview too many Indians for the Chief Risk Officer position and extolled the virtues of the former British Empire in front of employees.”
A spokesperson for the fintech said the allegations in the lawsuit are unfounded.
“[W]e will vigorously defend the company and its employees through the proper legal avenues. Some of the statements and discussions mentioned in the lawsuit have been either misrepresented or taken out of context, resulting in inaccuracies,” Erin Bruehl, Current’s senior director of communications, told Banking Dive. “These claims do not represent our company’s dedication to promoting a diverse and inclusive environment where everyone has the opportunity to excel in their work.”
Mitura, a tech recruiter who held previous roles at fintech Earnin and Google before joining the neobank in 2021, claims Current’s executive leadership created a hostile work environment in which other employees endured similar discrimination based on sex and race.
The neobank’s employees are “consistently harassed, subjected to unfair and unequal terms and conditions of employment and dismissed because of their race, sex and legally-protected activities,” Mitura alleges in the lawsuit.
Mitura said she received pushback from leadership regarding her efforts to introduce diversity, equality and inclusion initiatives at the fintech, despite DEI “being a part of the job description Sergiyenko had shared with her.”
“Sopp opposed Mitura’s equality initiatives because, as he told Sergiyenko, he thought the company did not need them, and Sergiyenko likewise disparaged equality initiatives as ‘tokenism’ and ‘virtue signaling,’” the lawsuit alleges.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Mitura went on medical leave in August 2022, according to the complaint. In January 2023, two weeks before Mitura was scheduled to return to work, Sergiyenko terminated her employment, according to the lawsuit.
Mitura claims Sergiyenko told her openly that “her replacements had built relationships within the company while she was on leave — an open admission that he made his decision because of her leave status.”
“Sergiyenko was no doubt also motivated by Mitura’s numerous complaints about Current’s open discrimination against its employees,” the complaint alleges.
Mitura also claims she documented an instance of a sex-based pay gap where a female senior director reporting to the vice president of marketing was paid less than a man with the same title reporting to the same manager, “even though the female Senior Director had far more experience and was a far better performer.”
Mitura protested the pay disparity to Sergiyenko, but rather than equalize the female employee’s pay, the company gave the man a new role at the same title in a different group, and continued his “inflated compensation,” the lawsuit alleges.
“This was an obvious and illegal attempt to hide the pay disparity rather than fix it,” according to the suit.
Mitura also claims a July round of layoffs at the neobank disproportionately affected women and people of color.
Current, which launched in 2017, was valued at $2.2 billion in 2021 after securing $220 million during its most recent funding round led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.