Natalie Cedeno Taking FriendFinder To Court Over Labor Laws

Posted Feb 26, 2009

Natalie Cedeno is a former Director of HR at Penthouse Internet slash Various, Inc. slash FriendFinder Networks.  Penthouse acquired Various Inc. (parent company of FriendFinder) for $500 million around December 2007.

?Natalie is one of the best HR managers I have worked with. She is a true professional and is always there to assist and guide staff through any situation. Natalie possesses strong organizational skills and a deep knowledge of many other areas including leadership/executive level coaching, facilities management, payroll and office operations,” stated Mike Rogers a colleague of Cedeno, on her LinkedIn profile as a testimonial of her work. “I would recommend Natalie to any organization looking to hire a seasoned HR manager and would gladly work with her again.?

It sounds like Cedeno was a good employee, but it appears that FriendFinder pushed the wrong buttons.  She has been fired since then and she is taking FriendFinder to court over labor laws.  Here is the full story.

Cedeno claims that FriendFinder withheld two years of pay that she was owed under her contract unless she stayed silent about FriendFinder’s violations.  Cedeno’s lawyers believed this is a case of extortion.  Cedeno filed the claim under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

Both FriendFinder Networks and Penthouse Media Group are adult entertainment companies.  As a token of appreciation to the FriendFinder, Penthouse sent a few Penthouse Pets to the California offices from Florida where Cedeno worked.

When one female employee complained about the Penthouse Pets coming to the FriendFinder officers, executives had the Pets humiliate the employee.  “They came into her office and placed her breasts on her head in an attempt to humiliate her, and they had someone ready to take pictures,” stated Cedeno.  The employee quit one month after.

Valleywag points out that if Cedeno wins the law suit, it could affect the IPO that FriendFinder was planning.  And if FriendFinder’s executives are penalized financially, the company may have a hard time paying off the $420 million in debt that they currently have.

There are a plethora of other problems that the company has right now.  This includes the recent firing of the company’s sales department, the COO hating on the operations team, and a former controller planning to file an age-discrimination lawsuit.  Its just one big mess.

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