Preaching Equality, Start-Up Didn’t Practice It With Employees

In a Slack message about Ms. Kramer’s departure, which was viewed by The Times, Mr. Ward praised her work. “She bent the arc for us,” he wrote. “We will always be grateful.”

Carta said Ms. Kramer’s allegations were “unfounded.”

In December, Frank Han, a senior vice president of operations who left Carta in March 2019, filed a lawsuit accusing the company of wrongful termination and retaliation. In his suit, Mr. Han said Mr. Ward had recruited him in late 2018, persuading him to walk away from a different job offer he had accepted.

But less than three months after joining, Mr. Han was demoted and Carta tried to lower his compensation, including reducing his equity grant by almost half, the lawsuit said. When Mr. Han protested, he was fired, according to the lawsuit.

He declined to comment. Carta said the suit “has no merit.”

Tyler Borer, who worked in Carta’s client services, also filed a wrongful-termination suit last year. He said in the suit that he had been fired while hospitalized. A lawyer for Mr. Borer said that the case had been resolved and that the resolution was confidential. Mr. Borer and Carta declined to comment on the suit.

Last month, three days after Ms. Kramer’s lawsuit became public, Mr. Ward addressed it on a Zoom call with employees. He repeated the conversation that Ms. Kramer cited in her suit and said many had agreed with him. He also described two times when he had snapped at other employees, displaying his online conversations with those workers and reading one of his apologies aloud, according to two people who attended.

In a question-and-answer session afterward, employees asked about Carta’s gender ratio and efforts to change its culture. Mr. Ward dismissed the questions, the attendees said.

He later posted a message to the company’s Slack channel thanking employees for their feedback.

“I realized I should have started by reiterating that gender and racial inequality in the workplace, particularly in technology, is a serious issue,” Mr. Ward wrote.

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