Moog, the famous synthesizer company based in Asheville, North Carolina, has been accused of workplace discrimination, verbal abuse, physical assault, and misogyny in a new federal civil rights lawsuit. According to The Asheville Blade, former sales assistant Hannah Green is suing the company for over $1 million to “make sure Moog Music never does this to anyone else ever again.”
Green purportedly was hired as a sales assistant in 2018 and a “personal assistant to the head of sales.” By the end of the year, she says she was made a full-time staff member that managed 20 accounts on her own, but her job title was never updated to reflect the additional tasks she was assigned beyond her job description. Linda Lafferty, the then-head of Moog’s sales department, allegedly promised Green an official title change “soon.”
Shortly after joining the company, Green says she concluded that Moog Music is a “boys club.” She claims inappropriate humor was commonplace, including “dick jokes,” “a joke about golden showers,” and “a joke about killing a woman in a sales team meeting.” Management allegedly took no action when she reported such misconduct.
In 2018, Linda Lafferty, then head of Moog’s sales department, apparently changed roles to lead the newly formed “Workplace Experience Department,” which is reportedly Moog’s human resources branch. Green claims the new sales department heads “immediately” stripped her of her “previously planned and budgeted attendance at NAMM,” a music festival in Anaheim where she would represent Moog’s sales department, and instead gave it to Scott Brandon, a “newer male employee that shared a similar title” but did not have any sales accounts.
When Green vocalized her dissatisfaction about the changes to Andrew Stryffeler, one of her new supervisors, he allegedly said, “We thought you’d like to be the mom of the sales department.” Green reported this to Lafferty in the HR department, who allegedly responded, “Wow, that’s sexist.” However, Green claims nothing was ever done to address these comments. Afterwards, Stryffeler allegedly stripped Green of “assigned duties and tasks and [gave] them to other male members of the team who were less qualified, all in front of the entire department.”
The next month, Green claims Brandon was promoted to an international account manager position. Moog’s handbook reportedly states a job posting must be shared internally before hiring a candidate, and the complaint alleges that this never occurred — thus denying Green the opportunity to apply for that same position. After the promotion, Brandon purportedly began to micromanage Green, check her time card to keep tabs on her, and physically intimidate her by looking over her shoulder while she was seated at work and “commenting on how she conducted her duties and tasks” despite not being her supervisor, reports Blade. Green also accuses Brandon of making misogynistic comments, such as asking, “Can you even travel? I mean you have kids and a family. Did you ever think about that?” Green says she reported these statements in person and in writing to the Workplace Experience Department, but again, no action was taken.
The lawsuit also alleges that Brandon verbally and physically assaulted Green at a work event called MOOG Pro. The instance is described as a violent, near-hour-long rant where Brandon screamed at Green, calling her a “fucking liar” and stating she would “never move up in the sales department.” She claims that he physically put his hands on her during this, too. The lawsuit alleges that when Green told the supervisor about this the next morning, she was denied access to a work event planned for later that day.
Green claims that Lafferty’s “only concern” as the head of the HR department was whether or not any clients had seen the assault and she stated Brandon “would be fired immediately” if that were the case. Instead, Brandon was apparently assigned to work from home for a week, his desk was moved away from hers, he was ordered to not exhibit violent or controlling behavior towards Green, and he was told to not assert any authority over Green in the workplace.
During her final months at Moog, Green claims her duties were shuffled around nonsensically, new positions were promised to her but never fulfilled, and she was ultimately fired out of retaliation for asserting her rights.
“I think women have always had to deal with a certain level of misogyny in the workplace, some of it was always expected, so we get numb to this idea that we can and should be treated fairly by our employers,” she told Blade. “After seeing all the documentation stacked up in front of me, I realized that I needed to do something to make sure Moog Music never does this to anyone ever again.”
Green filed the complaint in federal court in March of this year. The document contends that Moog Music repeatedly violated her civil rights and cites multiple instances as proof, including two different discriminations based on sex. It also alleges breach of contract, emotional distress, retaliation, and wrongful termination. “As a result of these discriminatory acts, breach of contract, and negligent affliction of emotional distress, Ms. Green is seeking an amount exceeding $1.1 million dollars in compensatory and punitive damages plus attorney’s fees and costs,” Green’s attorney Sean Soboleski told Blade.
Consequence reached out to Moog Music for comment, and they sent the following statement in response. In it, Moog Music says that “Moog categorically denies these claims, which are false” and can “only comment on some of the facts.” They note that Green filed a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, which subsequently investigated and dismissed the claim.
Read their statement in full below:
“This statement concerns unsubstantiated allegations made within an online article that recently appeared in the Asheville Blade. The article details supposed incidents of an ex-Moog Music employee who filed a lawsuit against Moog Music claiming discrimination and retaliation. Moog categorically denies these claims, which are false. The author of the Asheville Blade article did not contact Moog Music or give us an opportunity to comment, respond to, or refute any of these false allegations.
Given the matter is subject to pending litigation, we can only comment on some of the facts. First, this former employee filed a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC), and the EEOC subsequently investigated and dismissed the claim. Second, Moog Music conducted its own internal investigation and found that the allegations of the accuser regarding discrimination and retaliation to be unsubstantiated.
We recognize that discrimination and abuse is too common of an occurrence at workplaces around the world and we stand as allies with those who have experienced these inexcusable behaviors. We trust that people who know our organization, have been to our facilities, and have interacted with our employees, know that they are loving and respectful people. Our executive leadership (50% female/average female tenure ~9 years) will continue to focus on providing a safe and nurturing environment for our employees and will have nothing further to say on this matter until the litigation is finalized.”