Workhuman, the $1 billion-plus Irish tech company, is being sued by a former employee who claims he retaliated for questioning his business practices.
A former account executive for the company filed a complaint in Florida, saying he had raised concerns about some of Workhuman’s business practices. He claims he was shunned by superiors because of it.
Workhuman said the allegations were “inaccurate” and “baseless” and will defend the case in court.
Headquartered in Dublin and Massachusetts, the company develops software-as-a-service tools for HR departments to improve employee engagement and recognition.
The main focus of the claims are the prices that Workhuman’s business charges for its customers’ employees. Workhuman client companies can earn points for their employees, which can be redeemed in-store for goods such as electronics and gift cards.
Account manager, Christopher Ounjian, alleges that Workhuman charged a mark-up on these goods of up to three times their fair market value and did not disclose the amount of those mark-ups to customers. He also claims that customers are not advised that points may expire.
“The allegations made by Mr. Ounjian’s Florida attorneys represent an inaccurate view of the Company’s solution, are unfounded, and are being vigorously and fully defended by Workhuman in court,” the company said in a statement.
According to the lawsuit, between 2019 and 2021, Ounjian repeatedly raised his concerns with management, saying customers began asking questions about the prices they paid.
The lawsuit alleges that he faced retaliation from the company for disclosing the actual cost of markup to potential customers in his presentations.
Ounjian claims he was offered a new position at the company, which he saw as a demotion, and also says he was flagged for “performance issues”.
Workhuman has challenged claims about disclosing its prices to its customers.
“For all customer tenders that are carried out by demanding companies as part of a detailed tender [request for proposal] process, Workhuman presents a comprehensive and clear pricing model that enables customers to make fully informed decisions,” it said.
“Most of our customers tell us that they appreciate the benefits that our solution offers their employees and companies.”
Ounjian eventually resigned from the company in September 2021, stating that he could no longer continue his environmental work.
He has since moved to another organization where he says his compensation is lower than what he received at Workhuman.
He demands compensation for lost wages and “emotional stress”.
Ounjian filed its lawsuit on March 23, and Workhuman has yet to file any filings with the court.
In 2020, Workhuman became a business “unicorn” after valuing more than $1 billion following an investment by asset manager Intermediate Capital Group.
Since its inception in 1999, the company has also raised funds from investors such as Balderton Capital.
Irish investor Barry Maloney is now chairman of the company.
Accounts for Workhuman show that the company posted revenue of $681.9 million with earnings of $58.1 million in 2020. More than half of this revenue comes from US customers.
It paid more than $127 million in dividends to shareholders that year.
https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/hr-tech-firm-workhuman-sued-in-the-us-by-former-employee-41510733.html HR tech firm Workhuman sued in US by ex-employee