Cushman & Wakefield’s chief operating officer, Suzy Reingold, is suing her employer for $20 million, alleging discrimination based on gender and age.
The complaint filed by Reingold’s lawyers in New York Supreme Court Monday details alleged discrepancies in pay between Reingold, the firm’s COO, and her male colleagues, and includes quotes attributed to senior executives who said they wanted to hire young talent.
“Despite Ms. Reingold’s qualifications, C&W management discriminated against her on the basis of her gender and age, first by paying her less than men who performed equal work in jobs requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility, and ultimately by failing to promote her to the position of president of its New York Tri-State Region,” the complaint says.
Reingold was at work at C&W on Monday but declined to take questions from reporters, according to a spokesperson for Sanford Heisler, the law firm that filed the complaint.
Reingold was hired away from CBRE in 2005 by Joseph Harbert, then head of NY Tri-State at C&W, according to the complaint. When Harbert moved to Colliers in May, C&W began a national search for his replacement, even though the complaint alleges that “On multiple occasions, C&W CEO of the Americas Jim Underhill reassured Ms. Reingold that the “job is yours.””
Instead, Ron Lo Russo, 38, was hired to lead the tri-state area, and Reingold was named COO. Lo Russo was previously a vice president of leasing at Vornado Realty Trust.
Cushman & Wakefield issued the following statement:
“These allegations are completely without merit, and we will defend ourselves vigorously.
“Ron Lo Russo, president, NY Tri-state region, has brought incredible leadership to this role, recently hiring a number of new leaders and spearheading a new Professional Real Estate Program (PREP). In his short time as President, Lo Russo has brought a level of collaboration among our professionals who are highly focused on bringing the company to the next level in New York.
“As a matter of company policy, we don’t comment on the specifics of any pending litigation.”
Reingold is 66 years old. Before she began working in real estate, she was the first female partner at the law firm of Schulte Roth & Zabel.