Take a Proactive Stance Against Workplace Sexual Harassment
Employment disputes can be quite costly to a business, and depending on the allegations, can hurt a company's reputation. This is why it is important to take a proactive approach to avoiding these disputes, while also having legal counsel on hand should these disputes arise.
A recent sexual harassment case involving Zillow and a former employee highlights just how quickly allegations can spin out of control.
In this case, a former sale consultant for the online real estate firm filed a lawsuit in federal court for what she claims was "sexual torture." In her lawsuit, she claims Zillow -- as a company -- had a culture geared toward degrading women. She claims she was propositioned for sexual favors more than once and was ranked based on her physical attributes. She also claims she was sent inappropriate photos and that executives used to brag that their office was better than the dating app Tinder.
A spokeswoman for the company said an employee did lose his job after these allegations came to light, stating that it is important for all Zillow employees to feel safe and comfortable at work.
However, the former employee who is suing claims that she ended up being fired from her job after reporting the harassment. The company stated she was fired for not meeting her sales goals, while the former employee said this was after the stress from the hostile workplace environment became too much.
In this case, the former sale consultant for the company is seeking an unspecified amount in damages from Zillow. She claims not only emotional distress, but also retaliation, wrongful termination and sexual harassment.
Quite clearly, this is a lot for a company to face. Cases such as this one show why it is important to have very clear guidelines and workplace policies from the onset, as well as trusted legal counsel for when disputes arise.
At McNamee, Hosea, Jernigan, Kim, Greenan & Lynch, P.A., we provide guidance around planning and compliance for businesses, as well as representation if there is a dispute. Visit our employment law for businesses page to learn more about our approach.