Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde’s former nanny has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the pair after they abruptly fired her when she sought a three-day medical leave for depression and anxiety caused by their tumultuous breakup.
Erika Genaro began working for the actors, who have two kids together, in 2018. When the two broke up in 2020, Genaro alleges the split created a hostile work environment that affected her mental health, according to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday.
After Wilde’s “abrupt” departure in November 2020, Genaro claims that Sudeikis would frequently confide in her about Wilde. Sudeikis would “seemingly require” Genaro “to stay up at night after the kids were put to bed” for personal conversations, which often turned to Wilde.
The contention between the former couple left her feeling like she had to “pick sides” and brought on “unbearable stress and anxiety.”
According to the lawsuit, Genaro’s work duties “increased exponentially” after Wilde left. She was required to spend more time with their kids, including on the weekends when she was typically off work. The “debilitating” workload prompted her to address the change with Wilde in November 2020. Initially, Wilde appeared to react “sympathetically.”
“[Genaro] confided in Wilde how [Genaro] is becoming anxious and stressed with the situation in the home because of Wilde’s absence and Sudeikis’ late-night conversations regarding Wilde’s absence. [Genaro] felt a genuine sense of relief and [camaraderie] with Wilde, who reacted sympathetically from [Genaro’s] point of view – [Genaro] thought she got enough off her chest to be able to function without anxiety as the live-in nanny for Wilde’s and Sudeikis’ children, with Wilde as a reliable ear.”
However, Genaro later learned that Wilde had told Sudeikis about their private conversation.
“[Genaro] was stunned at the abrupt announcement, and her heart sank because of its significance — there was no peace when confiding in Wilde.”
As tensions rose further, the three agreed to attend group therapy in January 2021 to hopefully resolve the situation. A month later, Genaro’s therapist referred her to an osteopath, who advised taking a three-day leave from communicating with Sudeikis and Wilde to reduce her anxiety and stress.
Though Sudeikis was informed of Genaro’s need for a three-day medical leave and cease of communication, he demanded to speak with Genaro. When Genaro refused based on her physician’s recommendation, Sudeikis fired her.
“The osteopath relayed this restriction to the therapist, who relayed them to Sudeikis. Rather than honor the restriction of a three-day leave of absence from the osteopath, within hours, Sudeikis demanded to speak with [Genaro] immediately. When [Genaro] responded she is under the osteopath’s orders not to speak with anyone because of her anxiety, Sudeikis terminated her on the spot and directed [the nanny services company ML Management, LLC] to get [Genaro] out of his house and into a hotel. [Genaro] reached out to Wilde for support in an attempt [to get help] to merely have her restrictions honored, to no avail.”
“Her termination was because of her disability of anxiety/depression, and for seeking the reasonable accommodation of a three-day leave of absence for same.”
Around a year and a half later, in October 2022, the Daily Mail cited an anonymous nanny as their source for a story on the couple’s breakup and Wilde’s alleged affair with singer Harry Styles.
Sudeikis and Wilde released a joint statement once the news started hitting the media.
“As parents, it is incredibly upsetting to learn that a former nanny of our two young children would choose to make such false and scurrilous accusations about us publicly. Her now 18-month-long campaign of harassing us, as well as loved ones, close friends and colleagues, has reached its unfortunate apex.”
Their custody battle also made headlines last year when Wilde was served custody papers while she was onstage speaking about her film “Don’t Worry Darling” at CinemaCon, a ticketed industry convention.
Sudeikis denied having any prior knowledge of how or when the legal documents would be served. A statement on behalf of Sudeikis said that the “papers were drawn up to establish jurisdiction relating to the children of Ms. Wilde and Mr. Sudeikis.”
“Mr. Sudeikis had no prior knowledge of the time or place that the envelope would have been delivered as this would solely be up to the process service company involved, and he would never condone her being served in such an inappropriate manner.”
In an interview with Variety in August 2022 promoting the film’s release, Wilde spoke about the incident, calling it “vicious.”
“In any other workplace, it would be seen as an attack. It was really upsetting. It shouldn’t have been able to happen. There was a huge breach in security, which is really scary. The hurdles that you had to jump through to get into that room with several badges, plus special COVID tests that had to be taken days in advance, which gave you wristbands that were necessary to gain access to the event — this was something that required forethought.”
Wilde worried for her kids and believed they had been unjustly thrust into the spotlight.
“The only people who suffered were my kids because they’ll have to see that, and they shouldn’t ever have to know that happened. For me, it was appalling, but the victims were an 8- and 5-year-old, and that’s really sad. I chose to become an actress; I willingly walked into the spotlight. But it’s not something my children have asked for. And when my kids are dragged into it, it’s deeply painful.”
In addition to seeking damages for wrongful termination, Genaro is suing Sudeikis and Wilde for violating several of California’s employment laws.
Moumita Basuroychowdhury is a Contributing Reporter at The National Digest. After earning an economics degree at Cornell University, she moved to the Big Apple to pursue her MFA in creative writing. She enjoys reporting on science, business and culture news. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.