Three former employees file a complaint First Guaranty Mortgage Company (FGMC) and funder Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), alleging they were discriminated against on the basis of their gender and then suffered retaliation for filing the complaint.
Lynley VanSingel, Melanie Meyer and Jessie Palmer filed a lawsuit against FGMC and PIMCO in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on Thursday, June 23, a day before PIMCO-backed FGMC eliminated nearly 80% of its employees and begins to close. FGMC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware on Thursday, June 30.
The lawsuit accused the plaintiffs’ supervisors, including CEO Aaron Samples, senior vice presidents Jordan Simons and Brandon Jewkes, of “negative treatment, including hostile gender-based microaggressions, discriminatory conduct and treatment and intimidating that were not experienced by male employees”.
VanSingel, Meyer and Palmer also claim that FGMC and PIMCO removed responsibilities from them and changed their pay and reporting structure because of gender. VanSingel and Palmer were fired, and Meyer was demoted with a significant pay cut, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims that PIMCO “knowingly allowed FGMC to be undercapitalized and/or improperly transferred assets out of FGMC which resulted in FGMC being undercapitalized.”
VanSingel, former senior vice president of learning and organizational development at FGMC, is suing FGMC and PIMCO for failing to pay her 60 days of severance following her termination in February 2022.
VanSingel alleges that he experienced discriminatory behavior by senior vice president of retail sales Simons in January 2022. In a meeting, Simons claimed that a coach assigned to his team was unprofessional, according to VanSingel. When VanSingel asked for specific complaints, Simon could not raise any issues other than playing rap music in class during breaks, VanSingel said in the lawsuit.
Throughout the meeting, Simons continued to correct her and told her the way she spoke was undermining her credibility, VanSingel claimed. He employed “gender-based microaggressions in conversation,” according to the lawsuit.
VanSingel took the interaction to her direct supervisor, administrative manager Dwayne Smith, but her concerns were not addressed as she was fired shortly after her complaints, she said in the lawsuit.
VanSingel was told by Smith that she was being fired for expressing frustrations and the comments she made in her self-assessment portion of her annual review, in which she claims to have given an honest assessment of the year elapsed, according to court documents. VanSingel later learned that the termination decision was made by the CEO immediately after her complaints about Simons and before her self-assessment comments, according to the lawsuit.
Meyer, who was hired as a mortgage originator in October 2020 with about 20 years of experience, said Simons raised his voice after questioning some data from a report Simons was sharing in a meeting in January 2022. According to Meyers, other sales managers have sent him messages apologizing for Simon’s behavior. Simons then texted Meyer apologizing for her outburst but did not apologize in front of the group, she said.
In late January, during a call with Simons, Meyer suggested his team get more leads to experiment with if his group could convert more loans than other less experienced teams. Simons allegedly told Meyer in an unprofessional manner not to question the way things were being organized. When Meyer brought up the meeting with her supervisor Jewkes, Meyer was told to tell Simons about it and “couldn’t be afraid of his reaction,” she claimed.
Despite receiving an award for her band’s performance in January 2022, Meyer was told by the human resources team, Simons and Jewkes, that she was being terminated or could accept a demotion to the position of manager. hourly call center loan officer. She resigned in April 2022 after serving as an hourly call center loan officer.
Although the company accepted Meyer’s resignation, it never responded to his complaints, according to the lawsuit. In her resignation letter, she said her demotion was a “constructive dismissal, resulting from gender discrimination and retaliation”.
Palmer, who was hired as sales manager in March 2021, alleged that Simons hired a loan originator she chose not to hire. She claims that the candidate was discriminatory and disrespectful during the interview. Sidney Elliot, the contestant, referred to Palmer as “sweetheart” and “sweetheart” during the interview, according to the lawsuit. Jewkes, despite being aware of the candidate’s conduct, chose to hire him, according to the lawsuit.
Elliot was then moved to Palmer’s team and called her “sweetheart” again during the first weekly one-on-one, Palmer said. After Elliot complained to Simons that he couldn’t report to Palmer because “he didn’t think he could work with a woman”, Simons and Jewkes “gave in to Elliot’s discriminatory request and failed to provide Palmer with a comparable replacement, the lawsuit says.
Simons later admitted to Palmer that he knew he should have fired Elliot, Palmer claimed. Following this incident, Jewkes began to criticize the quality of Palmer’s creator files, which Palmer said was on par with the best creators in the business.
In January 2022, Palmer was informed that she had been terminated, allegedly for low sales volume, days after reporting several discrepancies in her final production numbers to a payroll team employee. She was about $80,000 away from hitting the $10 million sales goal, but reports suggest she was nowhere near that number, Palmer claimed.
The plaintiffs seek judgment on three separate counts. They are asking for back pay, severance pay, retirement benefits, stock options, bonuses, health benefits and any other relief needed to compensate them.
FGMC declined to comment on the ongoing litigation. None of the named defendants responded to requests for comment. Attorneys for VanSingel, Meyer and Palmer also did not respond to requests for comment.