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Electric vehicle maker Rivian sued for “illegal” dismissal

A former executive at electric vehicle maker Rivian sued the company, saying it was fired in retaliation, two days after filing complaints of gender discrimination.

Laura Schwab, a former Aston Martin executive who was Rivian’s vice president of sales and marketing until last month, said she was routinely excluded from meetings where her expertise would have been invaluable.

According to a statement released Thursday, Schwab also raised concerns internally that Rivian’s electric vehicle delivery targets, which include a pickup truck and sport utility vehicle, were “not achievable,” but that ‘she was “not taken seriously”.

The lawsuit was filed in California Superior Court in Orange County Thursday and comes as Rivian prepares to make his stock market debut next week in one of the most anticipated public offerings of the year.

He alleges that Rivian’s “illegal” dismissal will cost Schwab “millions of dollars” in unearned equity. According to a regulatory filing, Rivian intends to raise up to $ 8.4 billion, with a potential value of $ 53 billion. The company did not respond to the request for comment on Thursday.

Schwab is represented by attorney David Lowe, whose firm previously represented Ellen Pao in her gender discrimination lawsuit against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. “Ms. Schwab is determined to hold Rivian accountable for his bad behavior,” Lowe said.

Schwab described his complaint in a blog post titled “Life Outside the Boys’ Club”.

“Rivian publicly brags about his culture so it was a huge blow when I joined the company and almost immediately I experienced a toxic brother culture that marginalizes women and helps the company make mistakes. “she wrote.

“I spoke to HR about my concerns about gender discrimination from my manager, the ‘boys club’ culture and the impact it had on me, my team and the company. Two days later, my boss fired me.

Schwab was previously president of the Americas region at Aston Martin – the first woman to hold the position – and before that an executive at Jaguar Land Rover.

“Never in my years in the auto industry had I experienced such blatant marginalization,” she wrote.

To date, Rivian has delivered 156 vehicles to customers, but said it intends to increase that number to around 1,000 by the end of the year, when the company also said that it hoped to deliver 10 of the 100,000 vans ordered by Amazon.

The e-commerce giant is both Rivian’s biggest customer and biggest investor, with a 22% stake. Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit on Thursday.