Zillow displays Workplace Misconduct and Solutions

California ­– Zillow, real estate online, faced multiple lawsuits filed in 2014 on the basis of sexual harassment and workplace discrimination. According to a report received by the Orange County Register, Zillow was also hit with a class-action suit for allegedly “ failing to pay employees overtime” at the Irvine sales office.

A sexual harassment lawsuit was filed on behalf of a female employee alleging sexual harassment in the Irvine sales office. The allegations state that the female employee received “sexually explicit text messages,” and retaliation for rejecting the sexual harassment. The news announced that the sexual harassment was “inappropriate.” However, they determined the sexual harassment claim was lacking seriousness.
An inside sales consultant, Rachel Kremer, started working for Zillow in June 2012. She filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Zillow for the alleged sexual harassment she suffered including “the most heinous acts of sexual harassment imaginable.” Kremer accused her male supervisors of ranking the size of her breast, sending her photos of their genitals, and “demanding sexual gratification and obedience,” in order to continue her employment with Zillow.
Zillow said this issue was addressed and investigated immediately following the sexual harassment claim. After the careful investigation, they decided to terminate the sales employee who disrupted the workplace culture.
A couple of lawsuits alleged “racial discrimination” and “age discrimination” in the workplace. A female employee accused Zillow of firing her due to her hospitalization. A male employee claims a “credit card fraud scheme” took place by a co-worker, and Zillow allegedly retaliated against him following his report.
The class action suit alleged that more than 100 sales consultants receiving hourly pay at the Irvine sales office were allegedly “pressured” into working additional hours, unpaid, before their shift is supposed to start, during one’s lunch break, and after their shift ends.
Zillow refrained from taking ownership of all the allegations brought against them. The company also decided against discussing the court ordered settlement. Zillow did release a statement saying, “We strongly believe it is in the best interest of our people and our business to reach closure, put these allegations to rest and move on.” Now that most of the allegations have been settled, Zillow is on a path to restore the “company-wide culture where people work hard and treat each other with dignity and respect.”

Does a Sexual Harassment Settlement solve the Issue?

No, settling a serious matter, sexual harassment, without an individual being held responsible for his or her actions, does not fix the work related issue. It may put the problems on hold until things cool down. However, there is a chance that the victims who remain employed with Zillow will have this problem again. If it doesn’t happen to the former or current employees, the future employee, who will be thrilled to start their new career path, could be at risk and may never know the history of the serious workplace issues, or what to be aware of in terms of workplace misconduct.
A settlement can end a legal war between the parties involved. It can also provide a confidentiality agreement to prevent future conflict regarding the lawsuit from occurring. It provides a sense of relief to the defense, and usually a beneficial package including compensation for unspecified damages, punitive damages, and/or other awards pertaining to a sexual harassment case to the plaintiff.
Zillow states, they “take workplace allegations seriously.” The next time an issue occurs, their approach to handle the issue will be the true testament to that statement. This settlement doesn’t truly reflect any justice in the workplace, or a plan of action to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

If you have experienced sexual harassment or discrimination in New York City, Miami, New Jersey, or Philadelphia or if your employment rights have been violated, call us at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation.

About Derek Smith

Attorney Derek T. Smith is an experienced sexual harassment & discrimination law litigator who has particular experience in the areas of workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, civil rights litigation, employment law and civil litigation.

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