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Former Lightstone Creative Director Sues Company For Discrimination, Sexual Harassment

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The Lightstone Group’s former creative director is accusing the company of wrongfully firing her because she took time with her daughter over the Rosh Hashanah holiday weekend.

In a lawsuit filed in the New York State Supreme Court earlier this month, Audra Tuskes claimed she was discriminated against for being a single parent, The Real Deal reports.

She also alleges Lightstone President Mitchell Hochberg sexually harassed her — calling her “sexy” and leaning too close to her during a sexual harassment seminar — and treated her like a “low-level” assistant.

Hochberg, according to Tuskes' suit, has an “avowed belief that women either needed to stay single at work, or fulfill their caretaker roles by remaining at home with the children while men went to work at Lightstone unburdened by their childcare responsibilities.”

Lightstone has filed a response with the court, according to TRD, denying the allegations. A representative for the firm declined to comment further to Bisnow.

In her complaint, Tuskes said she was forced to be available to Hochberg around the clock, and she said on a number of occasions she had no choice but to cancel planned vacations or find child care for her daughter at the last minute.

Tuskes said she did not attend the opening of the Moxy Times Square Sept. 21 last year in order to spend time with her daughter for Rosh Hashanah. Hochberg fired Tuskes on the following Monday in retribution, the suit claims. Experts point to a lack of upward mobility during child-rearing years as a key reason the average woman is paid less than her male counterparts in commercial real estate.

She also claims she was promised $1.5M in equity — as part of her role in overseeing the design of six Moxy-branded hotels — which she did not receive.