Public companies are accustomed to shareholder lawsuits if their stock drops. WeWork, still private, is facing one now—from a former employee—after a huge valuation hit and a cancelled IPO.
The former employee, Natalie Sojka, filed a class-action lawsuit in a California court this week. It alleged the company’s payments to former CEO Adam Neumann and the price at which SoftBank plans purchase shares from employees are unfair to minority shareholders. The lawsuit hasn’t yet been reported.
Sojka worked at WeWork for a year and a half between 2017 and 2019, exercising her stock options “based on being told that [WeWork] intended to go public soon and that the value of [WeWork] stock would increase significantly,” according to the complaint. Nearly all WeWork employees who joined after 2016 now have worthless stock after SoftBank’s most recent financing last month.
A WeWork spokesperson said the company believes the lawsuit is “meritless.” Frank Bottini, Sojka’s lawyer, did not return a request for comment.
More employee angst at WeWork is sure to follow. The company plans to undertake significant layoffs in the next several weeks.