Exhortations to "Close the deal you c---" and "Stop being a f---ing p----y" are allegedly commonplace at GDS International, which is being sued by a 26-year-old Egyptian-American female employee for an unspecified sum. Lobna Abdelrehim is alleging "discrimination" based on gender and religion, as well as "retaliation" for opposing discrimination in the workplace—her lawyer Jack Tuckner tells the Post that GDS's publishing sales culture is "an extreme sort of jock fraternity ethos that's really unfathomable in this day and age. The bosses are all aware of it, and they could care less. It's like a throwback into the 1950s."
When Abdelrehim (left) started working at GDS in 2007, she was given "overtly sexist and demeaning sales propaganda, exhorting women to use their feminine wiles as a sale closing technique," according to the lawsuit. One manual was entitled, "Using your SEX to Sell and the Boulevard to Bombshell Bitchiness," which included tips such as "flirt to get what [you] want" and how they "can get away with being aggressive because its sexy." Another employee who met sales targets was allegedly congratulated in staff-wide e-mails for having "popped her cherry."
Abdelrehim, who is Muslim, also claims the office culture is brazenly anti-Islamic. At one holiday party, she was given the prize for the female employee "Most Allergic to Conservative Clothing." Her lawyer tells the Daily News, "She's beautiful and she's modern, but she's dressed in very professional attire. She certainly doesn't cover it up, but she's not wearing a burka." Another party invited staffers to a charity chest waxing, encouraging female employees to wax their managers.
When Abdelrehim complained to human resources, she says she was demoted almost immediately, and told she'd be fired if her sales didn't improve to "an unrealistic" level. She still works at GDS, but her lawyer says "they have told her she's pretty much doomed." You can bet the GDS holiday party's going to be a tad awkward this year.