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Ex-Zillow employee says she was victim of ‘frat house’ harassment

It can be troubling to hear that a California business that appears to be professional from the outside is, in fact, an “adult frat house” where sexual harassment of female employees is commonplace. Of course, worse still would be to have been the victim of such treatment at work.

Online real estate database company Zillow is facing allegations that its office in California was the home of chronic, repeated instances of sexual harassment, with so far no clear consequences for the alleged offenders except for one man, who has been fired. A former sales managers at the office has sued Zillow, saying that she was subjected to “sexual torture” while working there.

The incidents described in the plaintiff’s complaint are highly disturbing. She said a co-worker — the man who was fired — referred to another employee as the “2.0” version of the plaintiff, because she was like the plaintiff “but with bigger breasts and less miles on her.” He also is accused of sending the plaintiff sexually explicit messages, such as a picture of a penis.

Other male colleagues also harassed the plaintiff, according to her suit. One time at an office party, one co-worker allegedly propositioned her, using foul language. An IT technician once reportedly responded to the plaintiff’s request to reset her password by saying, “Only trade password for boob pix. Haha jk.”

Prior to the plaintiff’s filing, Zillow conducted an internal investigation of her claims, and fired the worker. In a statement, Zillow claims “it’s incredibly important to us to … maintain a work environment that is safe, comfortable and inclusive for everyone.”

It is not clear if anyone else has face discipline, short of outright termination, as a result of Zillow’s investigation.