On behalf of Girard Bengali, APC posted in blog on Thursday, August 2, 2018.
A former CFO for Snow Park Capital Partners accused the CEO of sexual harassment, but withdrew her suit after the hedge fund countersued alleging she had embezzled money. Kate Merli, former CFO, had accused CEO Jeffrey Pierce of multiple instances of sexual harassment.
Hedge fund accuses CFO of embezzlement and trade secret disclosure
Snow Park Capital alleged that Merli filed the harassment claims to cover up her misappropriating trade information, charging personal items on her company card and writing herself checks from the company account.
Former CFO alleges inappropriate comments and groping
Merli filed her sexual harassment suit in May 2018. She accused CEO Pierce of trying to kiss her, groping her and making inappropriate comments to her. When she confronted Pierce about his behavior, she further alleges he refused to apologize and continued to make improper comments on her appearance.
Both parties may have faced punishment
Though it is unclear what transpired at Snow Park Capital, if any of these allegations are true, both parties would have faced potential punishments.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) protects employees from sexual harassment at work. The EEOC states that it is against the law to make unwelcome sexual advances, ask for sexual favors, verbal comments of a sexual nature or physical sexual overtures. If Merli did face sexual harassment at work, she certainly was within her rights to file charges against the hedge fund.
The Defend Trade Secrets Act is a federal law that prevents employees from divulging trade secrets that provide the company with a competitive edge over its competitors. Assuming Merli did divulge trade secret information, the hedge fund had cause to file a lawsuit.
However, both matters have been settled. According to Institutional Investor, the parties have both withdrawn their claims, and the agreement reached prevents charges from being refiled on either side. Merli is also not allowed to further discuss the allegations.