Any company's corporate culture should be one in which employees feel motivated to do their best work. All employees, despite any protected characteristic, should feel at ease and be treated equally in the workplace. A former employee in Zillow's California office is claiming that she suffered a hostile work environment, was the victim of discrimination and suffered a wrongful termination.
According to her complaint, she was injured in an automobile accident, and, due to lack of accommodation by her employer, her condition worsened. She claims that she was required to stand for hours at a time and was not permitted to sit down. Because of this, she asserts that her condition became worse and she was hospitalized. Upon her return to work, she claims that her responsibilities had been reassigned to someone younger. Ultimately, she was fired for job abandonment due to her hospitalization.
The plaintiff also claims that the corporate culture was sexist and had a fraternity-like feel. She said that those who participated in heavy drinking and improper conduct were rewarded with better sales leads. The woman did not participate in the activities, which she alleges resulted in her manager purportedly making negative comments about her age, insinuating that she was unable to keep up with her younger co-workers. Zillow contends that the company fosters an environment that disallows such behavior.
Employees who find themselves in similar situations may first consider discussing the problems with their employers. If the issues remain unresolved, workers may choose to file legal claims in California civil courts for any allegedly illegal actions taken by employers, such as discrimination or wrongful termination. Workers who win their claims may be compensated for being subjected to illegal practices.
Source: Fortune, "Zillow's alleged "frat house" culture leads to new lawsuit", Erik Sherman, Dec. 5, 2014