Zillow, a $US4.5 billion real estate database business, is under fire as a new lawsuit has been filed accusing the company of building a company culture that is like an “adult frat house” where female employees are “constantly solicited for sex by co-workers, ranked on their breast size, and fired if they refuse to play along,” reports Valleywag.
The suit was first reported by The Recorder.
From the lawsuit:
Plaintiff Rachel Kremer began her employment enthusiastically with Defendant Zillow, Inc. (“Zillow”) on June 25, 2012 as an Inside Sales Consultant. Ms. Kremer quickly learned that Zillow had a pervasive culture of degrading women. Ms. Kremer’s male supervisors ranked her according to her breast size, sent pictures of their penis to her, and demanded sexual gratification and obedience by Ms. Kremer to continue her employment. Ms. Kremer’s experience was not limited to one supervisor, but instead, was pervasive throughout Zillow’s leadership. Privately, Zillow executives bragged that the office culture led to more sexual encounters than Match.com and referred to the internal office directory as “Zinder,” named after the dating application Tinder. Sadly, for Ms. Kremer, by not participating in this culture, she felt she would be outcast, and terminated. Eventually, after experiencing the most heinous acts of sexual harassment imaginable, Ms. Kremer was terminated. Zillow attempted to cover up their conduct by having Ms. Kremer sign a confidentiality agreement and release. Ms. Kremer brings this action based on the sexual torture she endured, and for the other women who have been silenced at Zillow, and remain exposed to horrific and unthinkable acts.
Also within the suit are sexually explicit texts sent to Kremer from Zillow employees (some are coworkers and others are managers, the suit states.)
Kremer’s lawyers say that Kremer reported the instances of harassment, but Zillow took no action.
There were other texts as well, including NSFW imagery of a colleague texting a photo of his penis to Kremer.
Kremer says she was fired for rejecting sexual advances from male managers, according to Valleywag,
The company told her she was terminated “due to her failure to meet her sales goals for the two preceding months.” However, she was given no advance warning about her performance, and the suit claims her performance was “nearly identical” to another employee hired around the same time. Kremer believes her opposition to her harassment was the real reason she was cut.
In the below case, she says she told her supervisor Gabe Schmidt about a coworker who was watching explicit videos at work. She alleges that while Schmidt did advise her to report the coworker in question, he also said the coworker “wouldn’t be fired.” Then Schmidt insinuated that the coworker may masturbate to Kremer’s Salesforce photo, according to Kremer.
In a statement to Business Insider, Zillow responded to the allegations:
Zillow takes any allegations about our work environment very seriously. When this allegation was first made, we immediately investigated these claims and as a result took quick action and terminated a sales employee in our Irvine office. The allegations in the complaint do not reflect Zillow’s culture or workplace and are completely inconsistent with our values. We don’t tolerate harassment of any kind.
It’s incredibly important to us to create and maintain a work environment that is safe, comfortable and inclusive for everyone. Our people are our greatest asset as a company, and we take great pride in our strong culture and reputation as a best place to work.