Last week, some Twitter employees posted a picture of an office party that had a frat-party theme. The photo showed that the party had red Solo cups, a keg, and a beer pong table, which had the Twitter logo. A sign on the wall read “Twitter Frat House.” The event comes as a former female software engineer filed a proposed class action suit claiming that the company’s promotion process unlawfully favors men.
Former employee Tina Huang filed a lawsuit against Twitter in March alleging sexual discrimination. She says that women are not promoted internally in a fair manner. The company has no formal procedures for posting job openings or giving promotions, she claims. Instead, the company has a secretive process that elevates very few women to top positions.
Ms. Huang worked for Twitter between 2009 and 2014. She complained to the CEO about the company’s policies and was later put on leave. She says that because of her complaint, her career was harmed. After being on leave for three months without any explanations or information about when she could come back to work, she had no choice but to leave the company. Ms. Huang’s lawyers have provided the media with a 10-point list explaining how the company discriminated against women.
Only 30 percent of Twitter’s employees are women, and in its tech jobs only 10 percent are women. The company has also been criticized for failing to find a single woman to sit on its board before its initial public offering. Twitter alleges that Ms. Huang voluntarily resigned after the leadership tried to talk her into staying. It also says that it’s committed to a diverse and supportive workplace.
In the midst of negative publicity surrounding the company’s treatment of women after the sexual discrimination suit was filed, Twitter held the frat-party themed office party. A Twitter spokesperson later apologized for the party, acknowledging that it was in poor taste and not reflective of the culture they are building at Twitter. Twitter’s interim CEO also told the company that diversity should be treated as a company-wide goal.
Twitter is not the only company to come under fire recently for sex discrimination. Facebook was just sued for sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, and racial discrimination after an Asian-American woman claims she was fired and replaced by a less qualified and experienced man. Additionally, dating app Tinder was recently hit with a $1 million verdict after one of its female co-founders was forced to leave the company after a coworker and ex-boyfriend became abusive at work. Moreover, a former Google employee claimed that she was repeatedly sexually harassed by her superiors.
Holding a frat-party themed event in most cases would not be considered sexual harassment or discrimination. However, it could be indicative of an overall culture that is heavily dominated by men, which could lead to sexual discrimination and harassment. Discrimination and harassment in the workplace because of sex is illegal under both federal and state laws.
If you are in the San Francisco Bay-Oakland-Silicon Valley area, and you feel that you have been discriminated against or harassed because of your gender, call Micha Star Liberty, Oakland sexual harassment and discrimination attorney, at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that employees should be valued because of the contributions they offer to the workplace, not because of their gender. Call Micha Star Liberty today to schedule your free consultation on your sexual harassment or sexual discrimination case. She works with clients throughout the Oakland-San Francisco area, including Hayward, San Jose, Fairfield, Tracy, Berkeley, Sacramento, and the surrounding areas.