In the "you can't make this stuff up" category today, Whitney Wolfe, a former executive of a dating app known as Tinder, has filed a suit against the company for sexual harassment, as well as discrimination. She alleges that her boss called her a "whore" at a company party and that her co-founder title was stripped because management felt having a "girl" in charge would devalue the company.
The lawsuit, filed on Monday in state court in Los Angeles, alleges that Justin Mateen, Tinder's chief executive and chief marketing officer subjected Wolfe to "a barrage of horrendously sexist, racist, and otherwise inappropriate comments, emails and text messages." Mateen and Wolfe and been in a relationship, but had broken up in December 2013. After the breakup, he began verbally berating her at the office, calling her a slut and an alcoholic in public. He also threatened to fire her if she dated other men, the suit said. Eventually, Wolfe offered to resign but was fired instead, according to Wolfe.
"Although it is tempting to describe the conduct of Tinder's senior executives as 'frat like,' it is in fact much worse — representing the worst of the misogynist, alpha male stereotype too often associated with technology startups," the suit said.
Wolfe says her co-founder snubbed her in articles written in traditional business outlets by not including her in a list of co-founders. CEO Sean Rad and others told her that having a "girl" as a co-founder "makes the company look like it was an accident" or that Tinder was a joke, the complaint said. Wolfe claims she had her title removed in November 2013 and was told she would be fired if she did not accept the change.
The suit also names IAC and Match.com, Tinder's parent companies, as defendants, claiming they ignored the abuse. IAC also owns Vimeo, CollegeHumor, and other dating sites, including OKCupid and Chemistry.com.
According to Ashe Dryden, a programmer and an advocate for workplace diversity, "These incidents reflect what we see at every level-the continual dismissal of women's competence, the overt sexualized atmosphere we see both online and off, the aggressive hyper-masculinity that is often rewarded and idolized by other men".
We are also seeing increasing signs of age discrimination in the tech industry. Davida Perry and Brian Heller of our office will be giving an online seminar titled Ageism in Employment: A High-Tech Trend? On Thursday, July 24 th at 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. ET. If you would like further information, go to http://westlegaledcenter.com/program_guide/course_detail.jsf?videoCourseId=100026571&ADMIN_PREVIEW=true