Lawsuit Alleges Reddit Fired Employee for Taking Medical Leave, ‘Toxic’ Culture

Jamie Lee returned from medical leave on November 18, 2022 and was allegedly terminated the same day.
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A lawsuit filed in San Francisco Monday alleges that Reddit fired an employee with an anxiety disability in retaliation for taking medical leave. The lawsuit also alleged that new leadership at the company has created a culture that is “dishonest, toxic, political, and not inclusive.”

The lawsuit, first reported by The San Francisco Standard, was brought by Jamie Lee, who worked at Reddit as an accountant for four and a half years. During that time, according to the lawsuit, Lee only received positive performance reviews. Lee, the lawsuit claims, is a person with a disability under the California Family Rights Act and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act due to her anxiety. It claims that Lee began suffering regular panic attacks as well as trouble breathing at the end of July 2022.    

On July 25, 2022 the lawsuit alleges, Lee asked her supervisor for three days off using her floating holidays to attend to her health. Her supervisor allegedly rejected the request saying it “would be a burden to the rest of the team” and that “there is a lot of work to be done.” Lee “had to fight” for the time off and eventually got it, according to the lawsuit.

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On August 12, 2022 the lawsuit claims, Lee fainted. She notified her medical provider, who placed her on medical leave. When Lee told her supervisor she was taking medical leave that same day, she “was very unhappy” and complained that Lee would be missing an important meeting in Los Angeles, the lawsuit alleges.

Lee started her medical leave on August 15. She returned on November 18 and was allegedly terminated the same day for poor performance. The lawsuit claims that Reddit hired a temporary replacement for Lee in October, who found errors in her work that led to her termination. Lee’s lawyers claim that these mistakes were tracked in an “Adjustment Tracker,” and that Lee’s mistakes did not exceed adjustments made by other teams and employees.

The lawsuit also claims that Lee talked to two people on her team who left Reddit in 2022 “due to change in the culture brought by the new leadership, including that it was dishonest, toxic, political, and not inclusive.” Lee’s supervisor as well, the lawsuit alleges, expressed concern about the new leadership under the new CFO and voiced her own frustration with the culture. Reddit’s CFO, Drew Vollero, joined the company in 2021.

Lee’s lawyer, Navruz Avloni, said she declined to comment on the lawsuit. Reddit did not immediately respond to a request for comment.