Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Chan are facing lawsuits by two of their former home employees over allegations of “harassment and discrimination” within the family’s office that manages nearly all of its affairs, according to a lengthy report by Business Insider .
In the lawsuits, the former home manager and an assistant supervising security operations allege that they encountered “unfair work practices” and that they were targeted in racist and homophobic abuse by one of Zuckerberg’s key aides.
The two former employees of Zuckerberg’s home also claim that they were retaliated after trying to draw attention to the practices against them, while Zuckerberg’s spokesman said that an internal investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing.
The site says, “The lawsuits were filed in San Francisco County on September 20, 2021, and were not reported in advance.” Several allegations were first revealed in investigations by Business Insider in 2019 and 2020.
Zuckerberg and Chan employ dozens of people and a network of limited liability companies to manage their household affairs, which can range from security protection to real estate and their daily lifestyle.
According to the site, some of these LLCs are named as defendants in the complaints, as well as several senior employees of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Iconic Capital, a wealth management firm. The site confirmed that none of the individuals involved in the lawsuits worked directly with Facebook.
Iconic Capital declined to comment, while Chan’s Initiative did not respond to the site’s attempts to communicate.
The name of the former security chief, Liam Booth, who left the family office in July 2019, is featured in the accusations in the court documents.
Security Operations Assistant from 2018 to 2019, Mia King, and Director of Home Operations from 2017 to 2019, referred to by the pseudonym “John Doe,” allege that Booth committed regular harassment, including racist and homophobic comments.
King is a black woman and a member of the gay community, while Doe is a gay man with disabilities.
King alleges Booth regularly made comments about her gender and race, and that he said she was hired only because the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative asked him to hire a black woman.
The documents indicate that Booth made frequent comments about Doe’s sexual activity and that he slapped his thigh and grabbed his butt in two separate incidents, incidents that allegedly took place in front of several other employees.
Booth, who was named as a defendant in the lawsuits, could not be reached for comment.
The allegations against Zuckerberg and Chan, as individuals, are mostly limited to their role as employers. Both plaintiffs say their supervisors did not agree to grant legally required work leave or overtime payments, in violation of labor law.
In contrast, Zuckerberg’s personal spokesman, Ben LaBolt, said in a statement that the company thoroughly investigated the complaints when they were first raised and found no evidence of wrongdoing, and that the family office expects to win the case.
The site notes that the two cases increase the pressure on Zuckerberg, who is currently working to contain the extensive leak of internal Facebook documents, which detail how the company deals with disinformation and other negative effects of its social networking products.