A former Travel Leaders Group executive, Mabelle Meyaart,
has filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming she was unfairly passed over
for promotions, sexually harassed and wrongfully terminated.
Travel Leaders CEO Ninan Chacko and president of Travel
Leaders Network and Leisure Group John Lovell were named as defendants. The
lawsuit alleges that Lovell "solicited Mrs. Meyaart for sex, made lewd
comments, leered at her and commented on her appearance repeatedly over the
The lawsuit was filed in February in West Palm Beach (where
Meyaart worked for Travel Leaders) in U.S. District Court, Southern District of
The lawsuit says, "Notwithstanding her proven track
record of success and competencies, Mrs. Meyaart was, at various times, passed
over for promotions, demoted, underpaid, had bonuses reduced over time without
justification, denied salary increases, denied equal pay, defamed, unfairly criticized,
propositioned for sex, harassed, and ultimately wrongfully terminated without
The suit also claims that Travel Leaders Group has a "warped
corporate culture," and describes the company as "toxic,
male-dominated, good 'ole boy, misogynistic, and dysfunctional, which
victimized and discriminated against women."
In a document filed with the court, Travel Leaders says
Meyaart's claims are "meritless" and that the lawsuit should be "dismissed
with prejudice in its entirety."
"We will vigorously defend that position and have no
further comment on this litigation beyond our filing," Travel Leaders
Meyaart worked for the company from June 25, 2012, until she
was "unceremoniously and wrongfully terminated without cause under false
pretenses supposedly because of a bogus elimination of her position" on
July 24, 1017, according to the lawsuit.
She had been brought into the company to create its hotel
division, and held several positions, including senior vice president of hotel
strategies, vice president of worldwide hotel program strategies, and vice
president of engagement and distribution strategies.
The lawsuit states Meyaart grew the hotel division's
earnings before interest, taxes depreciation and amortization by 400% in four
years, among other achievements, and received accolades from others within the
company. It also states she was "promised" larger roles in the
organization by Lovell on several occasions when other colleagues were present.
Meyaart alleges she was told she was terminated during a
call with Lovell on July 25, 2017, because there were no roles available for
her. However, the day before, a man was hired to be the new senior vice president
of strategic partnerships, according to the lawsuit. Meyaart says she was
qualified for the position, but the job was not posted and she was not
interviewed for it.
When terminated, Meyaart was not informed why her position
was eliminated over others, nor why another position could not be found within
the company, the suit states.
"Several officers and members of the board of directors
expressed shock that Mrs. Meyaart was summarily terminated," the lawsuit
states. "Mrs. Meyaart was given no opportunity to fight for her job and be
considered for any other position within her entire organization. It was
obvious that she was forced out of Travel Leaders Group for malevolent and
The suit claims that Meyaart was not given a raise in five
years, and that she was at the top of the salary band. Meanwhile, the complaint
lists instances in which men were hired for positions at higher salaries than
Meyaart's, even though the men had little experience, Meyaart alleges.
"If Mrs. Meyaart was a male, she would not have been
terminated," the lawsuit says.
The suit also claims that people within and outside of Travel
Leaders Group knew about the company's "warped corporate culture,"
and that there are additional victims of sexual discrimination.
Meyaart is seeking a jury trial, wages she believes are owed
to her (including back pay, front pay, bonuses and lost wages), legal fees,
damages and relief deemed just by the court.