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Another employee suit filed against Meow Wolf

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A giant robot stands outside Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe. (Martin Frentzel/For the Journal)

SANTA FE – A contractor and an employee of Meow Wolf in Denver have filed a lawsuit against the immersive art company alleging discrimination against female, non-binary and transgender employees, and unfair pay practices.

The suit, which was filed in state District Court in Santa Fe, also names as defendants former Meow Wolf CEO Vince Kadlubek, now the company’s executive adviser, and former human resources vice president Marianne Palacios, now a consultant to the company.

Responding to the suit, Meow Wolf released a statement saying, “We are disappointed by these baseless allegations, which run completely counter to our culture, and we will strongly defend against them through the legal process.”

Meow Wolf is expanding nationally from its House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe and plans to open exhibits in Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. Earlier this year, it raised $158 million from investors.

The new lawsuit was filed by Zoe Williams, who identifies as non-binary, and Mar Williams, who identifies as transgender. The two are not related. Both plaintiffs ask to be identified by the pronoun “they.”

The suit comes on the heels of a complaint filed in July by Tara Khozein and Gina Maciuszek, former workers at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, that seeks class action status to represent more than 50 female workers.

Zoe Williams states in the latest suit that while working as a contract community development leader in Denver from February to October 2018, they were asked to fulfill the responsibilities of an employee even though the contract was for just 15 hours a week. During this time, Zoe Williams often worked 30 hours a week and supervised workers, the suit says.

The complaint outlines allegations that a colleague of Zoe Williams didn’t feel comfortable confronting a former Meow Wolf employee who was sending her selfies against her wishes as well as pictures of himself with Kadlubek because “Kadlubek and the harasser had previously tasked her with obtaining LSD and other drugs for them when they came to Denver.”

In October, Kadlubek announced plans to step down as CEO “to focus on developing a new toolset of skills, to build key development initiatives and take care of my personal health.”

The lawsuit alleges that Kadlubek bullied Mar Williams on social media when Mar Williams attempted to discuss discrimination at Meow Wolf and targeting by Palacios for termination as a result of the complaints.

Meow Wolf’s statement said both Zoe Williams and Mar Williams are still working for the company. “They were neither targeted nor wrongfully terminated and this is an example of the falsehoods that are propagated in this claim,” it said.

The statement concluded: “Meow Wolf is firmly committed to fair employment practices, equitable pay and supportive treatment of all employees. Beyond the letter of our strict formal policies prohibiting discrimination of any type, we have recognized the need to proactively address the potential for gender bias in society at large, and as such, have invited an open, forward-looking, productive and ongoing internal dialogue designed to continue to ensure our workplace is positive, respectful and safe.”

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