Ex-legal affairs director sues Netflix, saying she was ousted for blowing the whistle over tax issues
Netflix was sued in Los Angeles for race and gender discrimination by a director in the streaming giant’s business and legal affairs department, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.
Nandini Mehta, an Indian citizen who worked in the platform’s Los Angeles and Mumbai offices, filed a complaint against the streaming company in L.A.’s Superior Court this week, alleging she “was repeatedly and systematically discriminated against, bullied, and harassed on the basis of her race and gender, then threatened, silenced, ignored, and — finally — ‘let go’ as a result of her whistleblower complaints.”
Netflix denied the allegations, including Mehta’s claim the distributor was using dubious strategies to limit its tax liabilities in India.
“The accusations Mehta has made about our corporate structure in India are categorically untrue,” Netflix said in a statement. “The structure we established in India is typical for multinational companies and reflects our business needs and the relevant governmental rules.”
The Los Gatos-based company has been fighting other lawsuits for alleged poaching of film industry executives. Comedian Mo’Nique has also sued Netflix for pay discrimination.
Netflix isn’t the only studio facing such lawsuits. Walt Disney was sued by female executives for alleged pay discrimination.
Mehta, a resident of New York State, was hired by the company in 2018. She had been involved in Netflix’s first Indian content deal, which led to such shows as “Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives.”
According to her lawsuit, Netflix used questionable strategies to limit its tax liabilities in India that she believed might be considered illegal by Indian tax authorities and could expose it to an operational ban in the region.
She said managers told her not to pursue the matter and that she faced retaliation from her bosses.
The company started to audit Mehta’s corporate card use in 2019 and 2020. In April 2020, she was terminated for non-business-related expenses charged to her corporate credit card, the complaint states, calling the reasons “bogus” and “defamatory.” Mehta said she was authorized to use the card for personal expenses.
“Ms. Mehta was fired from Netflix for repeatedly using her corporate credit card for tens of thousands of dollars in personal expenses,” Netflix said in a statement. “Mehta was instructed not to use her corporate card for personal expenses and given ample opportunity to correct her behavior. She did not and her employment was terminated as a result. We are confident her claims will be found to be totally lacking in merit.”
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