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Ex-Wayfair Worker Sues Over Response To Harassment Complaint

A person shopping at the Wayfair retail website. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
A person shopping at the Wayfair retail website. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

A former employee at Boston-based online home furnishings retailer Wayfair says in a federal lawsuit the company failed to adequately respond when she complained that a subordinate was sexually harassing her and then retaliated by firing her.

Emily Forsythe, 33, tells The Boston Globe  the man had expressed an interest in a personal relationship when they worked together at another company, but she told him she wasn't interested.

She helped recruit him to Boston-based Wayfair, and became his supervisor.

She says in on-one-one meetings, he moved his chair uncomfortably close and their bodies touched on several occasions. He also sent he a series of "aggressive" emails and texts that questioned her abilities.

Forsythe detailed her concerns in an email to her boss in August and her boss submitted a formal complaint to Wayfair's human resources department.

In early September, human resources told Forsythe her complaint was unfounded.

"I'm frustrated," she said. "I'm wondering if they did it to other women because they did it so quickly to me."

A Wayfair spokeswoman said the company takes reports of misconduct seriously and conducted an investigation.

"We did not find any merit to the allegations and intend to provide those details in court," Jane Carpenter, said.

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