Accusations of Sexual Harassment Against Zillow Illustrate the Need for Management Training

A former sales consultant has sued the online real estate company Zillow for various violations of federal and California state sexual harassment law. Rachel Kremer, who began working for Zillow in 2012, says supervisors frequently harassed her when they repeatedly sent her graphic emails and text messages. According to Ms. Kremer’s federal lawsuit, she was forced to endure a culture of “sexual torture” and that she and other women at the company were “silenced.”

The lawsuit claims that Zillow’s male supervisors ranked female employees according to their breast size, sent pictures of their penises to Ms. Kremer’s phone, and created an all around culture of fear and hostility. This lawsuit is the latest in a string of 2014 sex harassment lawsuits against technology based companies, and illustrates the need for greater management training to ensure that valuable companies are not violating the law. This need is even greater in industries dominated by men and within a culture where hard partying and a “loose” culture are the norm.

Preventing Workplace Harassment Should be a Focus for all Companies

No matter the size of the company, preventing workplace harassment must be a focus in today’s culture. As millennials enter and stay in the workforce, employers need to understand that this is a particularly litigious and vocal segment of society that is not afraid to complain and blow the whistle on illegal activity. Indeed, members of this generation are active users of Twitter and other forms of social media, where routine campaigns to end illegal activity gain rapid support. For this reason alone, compliance training to prevent workplace harassment and hostile culture is an absolute necessity in today’s day and age.

Focused online training is a fast and effective means of educating your managers about the importance of ensuring that workplace harassment is eradicated from the company culture, or better yet, stopping it before it starts. Online courses can teach managers about the intricacies of state and federal laws prohibiting harassment and are effective tools in helping managers identify conduct that is even arguably illegal. Indeed, this is an area of the law that has a lot of grey area and it is difficult for companies to manage different personalities within a workforce. By conducting regular training sessions, it becomes easier for managers to keep the prevention of harassment fresh in their minds and at the forefront of the minds of other employees.

In today’s culture your business simply cannot afford to sit on the sidelines and take a defensive approach when an employee makes an accusation of harassment. As the recent string of technology-based sexual harassment lawsuits against Yahoo, Tinder and Zillow (among others) shows us, companies of all sizes and values can benefit from harassment prevention training. Syntrio specializes in conducting cost-effective online training courses tailored to the needs of your business. Contact us today at 888-289-6670 to discuss your compliance efforts and any issues that may be arising within your company

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