SOFI? More like so Rude
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Another tech firm is being sued amidst claims that the company refused to address its employee’s complaints of sexual harassment. However, this story has a twist as a male employee is suing the major tech firm because it retaliated against him for reporting instances of sexual harassment he’d witnessed while working for the tech giant.
Social Finance, or SoFi as it is known, provides loans to its customers using a uniquely Silicon Valley way of both issuing and marketing its loans. The major firm is not shy about its business model, offering loans to “HENRYs,” which is an acronym for High Earners Not Rich Yet. The firm focuses primarily on refinancing student loans and offering mortgages to their young demographic.
While innovative, SoFi is not immune from the same issues of sexual harassment that are prevalent in the tech industry. Recently, Brandon Charles, a former loan officer at SoFi, reported to his HR department that he had witnessed his manager us language full of “explicit sexual innuendo[s]” and that, that same manager would use “lewd, sexualized gestures” when referring to a specific female employee.
Not only did Charles report the manager’s use of obscene language in the office, he further reported to HR that his managers were recording loans in ways designed to boost their pay and would cancel loan application rather than report situations that hurt their performance metrics. SoFi eventually fired Charles after investigating his complaints and determining they have no merit.
These allegations come on the heels of a Google memo that outlined obscene, and barely coherent, reasons as to why women are not suited for tech jobs. Recently, UBER CEO of ride-sharing, Jeff Jones left the company after the mishandling of numerous sexual harassment complaints. Not to be outdone, Tesla, the half tech firm, half vehicle manufacturer, faces current allegations of creating a culture of sexual harassment promoted by its male managers and top tesla brass.
Many have speculated as to why the tech industry is having such a difficult time with women. Google’s sexist manifesto attempts to place the blame on women and their inability to understand the nuances of tech. However, it seems far more likely that these firms are staffed by high earning individuals who haven’t been told no since they stepped off the playground. The majority of engineers in the tech industry are male, however, plenty of women are gaining steam, diversifying the workforce and presenting problems for the mostly male staff who find it hard to balance the realities of the new American workplace and their antiquated sexists’ attitudes
Fortunately, women who feel they were sexually harassed at work, whether in tech or any other industry, can find relief in both federal and state laws. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on an individual’s sex. Sexual harassment is just one type of sex-based discrimination covered by Title VII. Further, in states like New York, the New York State Human Rights Law and, in NYC specifically, the New York City Human Rights Law, provide broader protections for individuals who feel they were discriminated against based on their sex. While many claims of sexual harassment fall on the shoulders of women, Title VII also protects individuals, like Brandon Charles, who find themselves being retaliated against based on reporting sexual harassment. Title VII not only covers cross-sex discrimination but also same-sex discrimination and discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation.
The New York City sexual harassment attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC, have years of experience litigating claims of sexual harassment discrimination. If you feel you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, please give us a call at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation.