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Ex-Tinder VP Whitney Wolfe is suing the dating-app company for sexual harassment, largely stemming from alleged mistreatment by co-founder Justin Mateen.
According to Reuters, Wolfe's sexual harassment suit has named IAC/InterActiveCorp, Tinder, and Match.com as defendants, alleging that executives removed her title as a co-founder because of her gender. Tinder is a popular dating app that attempts to romantically link users via their mobile devices.
What are Wolfe's sexual harassment claims against Tinder?
Who's Afraid of Whitney Wolfe?
Wolfe alleges that while she helped to found the company in 2012 with then-boss Justin Mateen, her gender and their romantic entanglements forced her out of the company.
Mateen was her direct manager during Tinder's infancy, and the two dated off and on during 2013. According to Business Insider, Wolfe claims she was sexually harassed by Mateen and Tinder CEO Sean Rad during "the majority of her employment at Tinder." To support her claims of harassment, Wolfe references several texts that Mateen allegedly sent her after the couple broke up at the end of 2013. Wolfe claims she reported this to CEO Rad and Match.com CEO Sam Yagan, but they "didn't care."
The texts paint an ugly picture of Wolfe being verbally harassed and taunted by Mateen. After Wolfe asked for help from Rad, he allegedly asked for her resignation.
There's no magic determinant for courts to find that an employer created a hostile work environment, but Wolfe's allegations of insults, intimidation, and ridicule -- if true -- create a very compelling argument for one.
Add this to the allegation that Wolfe was removed as co-founder because Mateen thought "it was 'slutty'" for her "to be the co-founder of a 'hook up' app like Tinder." Business Insider reports that Mateen has suspended by IAC pending an investigation, but Tinder has yet to make a statement.
As the Tinder case reminds us, workers should not have to endure sexual harassment by any employer. If you feel like you've experienced similar harassment or inappropriate treatment at your workplace, you'll want to consult with an experienced employment attorney about your options.