Serious Sexual Harassment Allegations against Tinder
July 24, 2014
Tinder is a matchmaking application that connects people with others in their area looking for a match-up. Though Tinder represents itself as a romantic dating app, many people associate the app with sexual encounters or promiscuity. Nevertheless, approximately 10 million users log into Tinder every day.
Lawsuit Filed for Sexual Discrimination and Harassment
Recent allegations suggest that the sexual theme permeates the workplace atmosphere of Tinder, as well, and not in a good way. An executive of the company, Whitney Wolfe, accuses the chief executive and chief marketing officer of sexual harassment, and additional executives of discriminatory behaviors based on her gender.
First, though Wolfe helped start the Tinder app from the beginning, she claims that the other executives—all male—refused to officially call her a co-founder. When she inquired as to why they left her name off the list of founders, they told her it was because she was a girl and that having a female founder would detract from the value of the company and “make it look like a joke.”
In addition to the above discrimination, Wolfe further accuses her boss Justin Mateen of sexual discrimination that her lawsuit states was “horrendous.” Though Wolfe and Mateen dated, their romantic relationship did not last. Following the demise of their relationship, the lawsuit alleges that Mateen became extraordinarily jealous, controlling, and abusive. The lawsuit complaint contains screenshots of numerous sexist, racist, and threatening texts that Mateen sent to Wolfe. In these texts, Wolfe repeatedly requests that Mateen stop this behavior, states the behavior is inappropriate, and states she will not stand for it.
The situation apparently came to a head at a company party, during which Mateen called her the following in front of others, including Mateen’s boss:
Mateen’s brother then accused her of not being a “good girl,” and another party guest spat in her face.
Following the above incident, Wolfe resigned, stating she felt forced to leave the company due to the relentless and publicly humiliating harassment. Wolfe is seeking lost wages and her equity in the company, which was stated to be “millions of dollars.” Though Matten has been suspended and Tinder is conducting an internal investigation regarding the matter, a company representative stated that they believe the harassment and discrimination claims are unfounded.
Lines of acceptable behavior may often seem blurred to some employees in certain employment situations. If a company mostly employs young, attractive people in a relatively casual atmosphere who may end up in romantic or sexual relationships, some people may disregard the laws protecting all employees against unlawful sexual harassment. The law does not allow for exceptions in the law for different work environments, and all employers should strictly enforce anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws with no exceptions.