The Wing once described itself as a community and workspace for women, but some are accusing the company of discrimination. Now, the shared office space has changed its membership guidelines to be “a diverse community open to all.”
The women-only workspace provider has long emphasized its theme of encouraging women and preventing workplace harassment with merchandise and even a podcast. Now, some say that the rule excludes trans and non-binary people.
The New York City Commission on Human Rights launched a “commission-initiated investigation” to investigate the company’s possible Human Rights Laws violations, which prevents business from discriminating based on gender.
In August of 2018, James Pietrangelo filed a lawsuit against The Wing for discriminating against him and defying the District of Columbia’s Human Rights Act of 1977. Pietrangelo claims that after he applied, employees of the company said he “would automatically be denied membership because he is a man.”
The Wing argued that Pietrangelo “failed to identify any demonstrable action he has taken, or even any interest he has, in empowering and advancing women.”
Soon after, the company adopted its first formal membership policy that stated “all applicants will be valuated based on their commitment to The Wing’s mission, regardless of their perceived gender identity.”
It is still unclear whether men will be allowed with their renewed membership policy, but the company stated that its current policy ensures The Wing’s staff could not assume an applicants gender based on how they present, or ask members to self-identify.