'Adult Frat House Culture' Pervades Zillow: Lawsuit

Suit accuses company of harassment
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2014 7:00 AM CST
'Frat House' Sex Harassment Pervades Zillow: Lawsuit
Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff is interviewed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Aug. 6, 2014.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Sexual harassment is rampant at Zillow, alleges a former employee in a lawsuit, pointing to an "adult frat house culture" at the online real-estate firm. The suit, which accuses the company of harassment, wrongful termination, and retaliation, was brought by former sales consultant Rachel Kremer, the Recorder reports. It details graphic text messages and images allegedly sent by managers to Kremer. "I have a great opportunity that just opened up on my face," says one, according to the complaint. Another, allegedly sent by Kremer's manager, seeks "dinner drinks and your smooth vagina." The manager, named as Gabe Schmidt in the suit, also sent her a picture of his penis, says the suit, which includes the image.

The incidents were far from isolated, the complaint holds: "Privately, Zillow executives bragged that the office culture led to more sexual encounters than Match.com," while they "referred to the internal office directory as 'Zinder,' named after the dating application Tinder." Kremer says her well-recognized performance at work deteriorated amid the harassment, and she was suddenly fired in August. Afterward, she signed a confidentiality agreement, the suit says, via Valleywag. In a statement emailed to Newser, Zillow says it "immediately investigated these claims and as a result took quick action and terminated a sales employee"; further, it doesn't "tolerate harassment of any kind." (More tech-world drama: One of the makers of a hot new app pushed out a partner ... at his parents' request.)

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