A woman has accused 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang of firing her in 2011 from a tutoring company he ran after she complained about the disparity in pay between male and female employees.
The woman, who asked not to be named for fear of online retaliation, said she was given a termination settlement after she sent a letter to the human resources department of the education services company Kaplan, which had acquired Yang’s company, in which she claimed Yang had “acted in a discriminatory manner” and breached a contract by firing her.
“Andrew always spoke positively of my work and my value to the company,” the woman told BuzzFeed News, which first reported on the allegations. “This changed only when I approached him about the disparity of my salary compared to male colleagues in similar roles.”
She added: “I believe Andrew fired me as retaliation for asking to be paid a salary that was still significantly less than what he was paying my male counterparts.”
The woman, who had worked for Yang’s Manhattan GMAT for two years when she made her complaint, said she was making $87,000 a year when Yang asked her to send employment offers to two men he wanted to hire. The men were offered $125,000 per year and a $50,000 “relocation bonus.”
Manhattan GMAT has since been renamed and is now called Manhattan Prep.
Yang’s campaign has denied the allegation, saying that the entrepreneur-turned-presidential contender has had to fire many people in the past and that the woman’s claim “does not reflect the reality of the situation.”
“Like many CEOs, Andrew Yang has had the unfortunate task of letting staff go who did not meet the organization’s standards,” S.Y. Lee, a spokesman for Yang, said in a statement provided to Fox News. “The information provided by the letter-writer does not reflect the reality of the situation.”
This is the second time since Yang launched his presidential campaign that he has faced accusations of discriminatory practices against female employees.
In September, Kimberly Watkins – who also worked at Manhattan GMAT– claimed Yang fired her after she got married. Watkins alleged that Yang believed she would not work as hard after her marriage. Watkins was paid a severance stipend for two years as a settlement following her dismissal.
During an interview on ABC’s “The View,” Yang denied Watkins’ allegation – saying there was “zero truth” in her claim.
“There is zero truth to it,” he said. “I’m happy to say, I’ve had so many phenomenal women leaders that have elevated me and my organizations at every phase of my career, and if I was that kind of person I would never have had any success.”
Yang, once considered a longshot candidate for the Democratic nomination, has built a surprisingly strong following and has outperformed many high-profile politicians vying for the nomination. Still, recent polling shows him trailing far behind frontrunner like former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and South, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg.