Allegations of sexual harassment or discrimination can be extremely damaging to employers in Tennessee and around the country. This is especially true when they are accused of either covering up misconduct or offering their workers pay raises or promotions to remain silent. This is what the company behind the dating application Tinder is accused of doing in a lawsuit filed recently by a former executive.
The woman who filed the sexual harassment lawsuit claims that Tinder management attempted to cover up unwanted and unwelcome sexual advances she was subjected to at a company party in December 2016. She also alleges that she was fired after four years of service when she refused to accept an increased salary in return for signing a nondisclosure agreement. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for wrongful termination, gender violence, negligence, sexual battery and retaliation.
Tinder's former CEO is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. The woman claims that he made sexual advances toward her during the party and then fondled and groped her afterward in a hotel room being used by Tinder employees. One of the company's representatives says that a thorough investigation of the incident did not uncover any violation of the law or Tinder's company policies. The lawsuit does not mark the first time that the company has been mired in a sexual harassment controversy. In 2014, a senior executive sued Tinder for sexual discrimination and harassment.
Attorneys with experience in this area may point out to the defendants involved in sexual harassment lawsuits that retaliating against employees that step forward can lead to severe sanctions and widespread public condemnation. Inappropriate behavior damages the reputation of an employee or a group of employees, but cover-ups and retaliation taint an entire organization. When lawyers can produce evidence of such behavior, they may urge employers to avoid further scrutiny by settling sexual harassment claims discretely at the negotiating table.
Source: CNBC, "Former Tinder exec sues ex-CEO and IAC on claim of sexual assault," Annie Palmer, August 5, 2019