Et Tu Spotify?
October 11, 2018 | Angela Snyder, Esq.
NBC recently reported that a female sales executive sued Spotify alleging a “boy club” environment complete with drug-filled “boys’ trips” to the Sundance Film Festival that excluded highly qualified women. The suit accuses the company of ignoring complaints of sexual harassment (and in fact promoting a male employee after he received warning of sexual harassment), and engaging in systemic sex discrimination, including pay inequity. Seriously Spotify? Is it just me, or is this script getting a little stale?
It turns out Nike was way ahead of you anyway, four women who worked in the corporate headquarters there filed a class action lawsuit against the company for violating the Equal Pay Act by engaging in gender pay discrimination and ignoring rampant sexual harassment. Back in April, the New York Times published a piece exposing a toxic culture at Nike where supervisors bragged about sexual exploits and tried to forcibly kiss subordinates. Prior to the article’s publication, Nike had parted ways with a number of top executives.
What has emerged in both the Spotify and Nike lawsuits is a an environment where women’s complaints were ignored for years leaving them feeling harassed and looked over despite their qualifications. Unfortunately, the women felt ignored by HR or like HR was ineffectual. This is always a recipe for disaster, because if employees can’t go to HR they are going to be looking for help from the EEOC or an attorney.
If you haven’t noticed it yet, the floodgates are officially open. As we discussed, here and here, there are steps every organization can and should be taking to avoid the type of liability and negative PR that has plagued the likes of Ford, Uber, Nike, Google and Microsoft. #MeToo is not going away, and it may be just the beginning.
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