Dating App Discrimination…echoes of the past.

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Tinder co-founder/defendant Justin Mateen

The most insidious examples of male chauvinism are becoming commonplace in Silicon Valley as hundreds of tech start-ups become household names, giving their executives untold wealth and power.  The United States hasn’t seen discrimination like this since the 1980s days on Wall Street.

Tinder has become a rather standard dating app, catering to all types of singles looking for love, dates, or just a quick encounter.  The app looks for suitable matched within your area and you swipe through the list giving them a heart (if you’re interested) or an X (if you’re not).  Information on potential dates is gathered largely from the person’s FaceBook profile and doesn’t seem to actually work if you’re not also a member of that insanely popular social media site.

But it just goes to show that just because you can join a dating app…that doesn’t mean you should be dating.

Case In Point

One of the co-founders of the popular dating app recently filed a discrimination lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court alleging that Justin Mateen, one of Tinder’s other co-founders, and the chief marketing officer, subjected her to a long list of discriminatory behavior.

Whitney Wolfe, a former executive alleges that she has been the victim of “atrocious sexual harassment and sex discrimination.”  If even half of her allegations are true, she is right.

Apparently, according to reports, Wolfe and Mateen dated for approximately one year prior to the takeoff of the dating app.  After the break up and once the money started rolling in Mateen’s evil side kicked in.

He is accused of referring to Wolfe as a ‘whore’ in board meetings and in front of the company’s CEO (who apparently did little to correct his underling), and commenting that a 24 year old girl as a co-founder made the company seem like a joke and ‘de-values’ it.  Her name was taken off of the list of founders of the company as a result of that misogynistic attitude.

Ms. Wolfe filed her suit, naming Tinder as the chief defendant, along with its parent company, InterActive Corp (IAC).  Once IAC executives learned of the suit, they immediately launched an investigation and suspended Mateen for clearly violating the bounds of common decency.  The company issued a statement saying that “…it has become clear that Mr. Mateen sent private messages to Ms. Wolfe containing inappropriate content.” And that they “unequivocally condemn these messages, but believe that Ms. Wolfe’s allegations with respect to Tinder and its management are unfounded.”

According to the suit, Ms. Wolfe states that the repeated text messages from Mateen include numerous threats to herself and her job, sexual and racist comments and references to her as a ‘whore.’  He also verbally threatened her job and harassed her face to face on multiple occasions at work.

Screenshots of the text conversations were published recently by Valleywag, a tech blog and can be found here.  (caution – NSFW)

It is unclear how IAC execs could think that no one could have noticed the threats and comments made by Mateen, failing to report or take any sort of corrective action against him.  Especially in light of Ms. Wolfe’s allegations that she reported the conduct to management at IAC and requested help with the situation.  She was ignored and ultimately forced to resign.

But Tinder is not the only tech company to face accusations of fraternity like behavior.

Snapchat, the popular photo sharing app recently came under fire when text messages from its CEO, apparently a hormone raging imbecile, came to light.

Evan Spiegel , Snapchat’s CEO and co-founder, apparently enjoyed his years as a frat brother a little too much for his past to not come back to haunt him.  Text messages and emails describing his attempts to salvage the stripper pole at his daddy’s LA house (where he and a few of his frat brothers lived) to hoping all of his friends had at least 6 women giving them oral sex at a party the previous evening, were published via screenshot on the Valleywag site here (also NSFW).

The examples continue at companies like AOL, GitHub and Urban Airship with allegations that have not been seen since the heydays of Wall Street where banking giants who’d grown so large that executives and employees had access to virtually unlimited sources of cash were accused of holding office parties with strippers, openly harassing female employees, sexual encounters in the workplace, company sponsored sex vacations, and drug induced orgies.

Most of those cases were quietly swept under the rug and closed with large cash payouts and settlements, but not before some of the most outrageous examples were catalogued by Susan Antilla in her expose “Tales from the Boom Boom Room: Women vs. Wall Street.

Hopefully Tinder, IAC and other Silicon Valley execs see reason and begin to address the ‘brogrammer’ attitude before it gets even further out of control.

If you feel that you have been sexually harassed or discriminated against at work, contact Stephen Danzq & Associates at (877) 789-9707 or use the Contact Form on our website to schedule a free consultation today.  Stephen, along with one of his senior associates will sit down with you at a location that is convenient to your work, school or home and discuss the facts of your case.  He will outline any possible causes of action you may have and will explain the procedure your case will follow, hopefully resulting in the settlement or judgment you rightfully deserve.  Stephen has more than three decades of experience as an employment attorney defending the rights of workers in California and around the world.

We look forward to defending your rights.