Why Did Hyundai Fire an Auto Show Model?

A woman who worked for Hyundai during the New York Auto Show claims she was fired because of her menstrual cycle.

Rachel Rickert, 27, told the New York Post that her menstrual cycle arrived during the show and she was unable to take a bathroom break because she was busy greeting show attendees for three straight hours. As a result, she soiled her uniform.

“I’m not going to let someone tell me I can’t have my period when I work. It’s unacceptable,” Rickert told the Post.

The Incident

According to her U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint, Rickert’s talent-agency representative, Erika Seifred, told Rickert on April 15 that she was being let go “because Hyundai heard about Ms. Rickert having her menstrual cycle and they didn’t want Ms. Rickert representing the company anymore.”

“She [Seifred] called me and pretty much told me that Hyundai didn’t want me representing them anymore at the show because they got word of my menstrual cycle,” Rickert said.

Rickert said the initial incident occurred on April 13. She said she requested time to change her clothes and clean up, but instead was instructed to take the night off. She said she then complained, because she was being paid by the hour and did not want to miss out on the work. Rickert expected to make $5,000 working the show, but claims she was not paid for any of her time.

“You’re not a robot. You have to use the bathroom especially when you’re on your period,” she said to the Post. “They just act like we’re not human. I’m not going to be ashamed or shamed of having my period.”

EEOC Claim Filed

“Discrimination of any kind, especially because of a menstrual cycle, should not be tolerated,” said Rickert’s attorney, Mark Shirian, according to the Post.

Rickert filed her EEOC claim on Tuesday in Manhattan. The claim is filed against Hyundai and Experiential Talent – the firm that employs Seifred and hired Rickert for the event. Seifred did not comment to the Post.

We reached out to Hyundai and a company spokesperson sent us the same statement that was sent to the Post.

“Hyundai has yet to receive an EEOC filing regarding an issue with a contractor hired by a third party for the 2017 New York Auto Show. We take any complaint like this seriously and will respond appropriately once we have a chance to investigate the merits of the claim.”

Update:Hyundai has responded. Here is the updated statement in full: "As additional facts have come to light, we wanted to provide an updated statement from Hyundai. We hope you update your story with the following as her dismissal was not as she claims.

After conducting an initial investigation, it is clear that Rachel Rickert was let go as a Hyundai brand ambassador at the New York Auto Show strictly as a result of her poor performance. She was hired as a contractor by a third party vendor and was not representing the company in a professional manner with colleagues and guests of the Hyundai auto show booth.

Hyundai has still yet to receive a complaint from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but will be contesting it vigorously and will be continuing to investigate the situation."

Sign-up to our email newsletter for daily perspectives on car design, trends, events and news, not found elsewhere.

Share this content.