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Zillow seeks dismissal of sexual harassment suit

A real estate company has moved for the dismissal of a sexual harassment suit in California, but it faces numerous other potential actions in connection with workplace discrimination claims. The plaintiff in the current case has alleged workplace sexual harassment in connection with explicit text messages received from a coworker. Zillow counters that the messages were not a matter of work-related actions but were a pattern of interaction between both of the individuals over a two-year period.

Zillow notes that the messages in question are not appropriate and indicates that two employees were fired in connection with the activity. However, lawyers for the plaintiff indicate that the work environment at the company encouraged and facilitated this type of behavior, stating that foul language was encouraged by those in management positions. Additionally, representatives for the woman indicate that the language reported to pervade the work environment does not warrant unwanted advances and physical contact.

An individual who is faced with a workplace culture that seems to promote inappropriate language and behavior might deal with concerns about the implications of reporting sexual harassment or other illegal activity to superiors, especially if superiors seem to cultivate such an environment. In such a situation, it may be helpful to discuss one's concerns with a source outside of that environment to identify options for improving or addressing the situation. Legal insight may be helpful to ensure that sexual harassment or other discriminatory behavior is identified.

An individual in a similar situation might work with a lawyer to document issues that have contributed to an uncomfortable work environment, including specific instances of unwanted touching or other advances. A lawyer might coordinate information from witnesses or others who have been exposed to similar behavior in order to substantiate a sexual harassment claim.

Source: Geek Wire, "Zillow moves to dismiss sexual harassment suit as legal battle escalates", Blaire Hanley Frank , December 12, 2014

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