Philippa Okoye, wife of 49ers defensive lineman Lawrence Okoye, is suing her former employer, deVere Group in Manhattan, alleging she was wrongfully terminated from her job after she complained of racist remarks and sexual harassment.
According to the New York Daily News, in a lawsuit she filed Monday, Okoye says she began working as a senior investment advisor in 2013, and claims she was the target of several vulgar comments, especially about her relationship with Lawrence Okoye.
Okoye alleges CEO Benjamin Alderson asked her, “So Philippa, how many cheerleaders has your boyfriend f—ed today?”
Furthermore, Alderson poked fun at her religion, openly mocking her Christian beliefs, according to the court papers. She claims that he would call her a “Bible basher” and would sing hymns as he walked past her desk.
The lawsuit also alleges that a fellow co-worker told Okoye, “I think it’s disgusting when white women go out with black guys,” according to the Daily Mail.
The harassment culminated in a directive in February 2014 in which she was asked to move to California to work remotely and was later terminated.
Although the company claims she was fired for her performance, she believes that she was terminated because she dared to speak out against the harassment.
Both Philippa and Lawrence are British. Lawrence threw the discus for England during the 2012 Olympics and is currently on San Francisco’s practice squad.
In addition to the stress of harassment, Philippa claims that the ordeal added further anxiety because her work visa was in jeopardy. The damages she is seeking will be determined at the trial.