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From online Tinder to offline DA’s office: Workplace sexual harassment is real

Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can I wait a few months to pursue a personal injury claim?”

 

The online dating world took a collective gasp as one of its leading lights, Tinder Chief-Marketing-Officer Justin Mateen, was accused of sexual harassment and discrimination. The company says it has suspended the cofounder.

Sexual harassment Charlotte Injury Lawyer North Carolina medical malpractice AttorneyTinder compiles information from users’ Facebook accounts and, based on a set of criteria, tries to connect potential mates.

In the sex harassment lawsuit, brought by former Tinder Vice-President of Marketing Whitney Wolfe, Mateen is accused of connecting with Wolfe inappropriately both online and the old-fashioned way. Wolfe alleges Mateen pursued her romantically, and the two began “officially dating” in February of 2013.

It didn’t take long, however, before Mateen became verbally controlling and abusive. He told Wolfe if she hurt his pride by dating another man, he’d fire her. A few months after breaking off their relationship, Mateen called Wolfe a “whore” at a company event. He also went behind Wolfe’s back, describing her as a “gold digger” and a “liberal lying slut” to coworkers. Wolfe claims pressure from Mateen led to her termination.

Closer to home, Whitney Nicole Shaffer, who worked as an Assistant Prosecutor for three months in 2013, alleges during that time that her boss, Jay Gaither, “pestered her to go out on dates, sent her racy text messages, and groped her.”

Gaither is the District Attorney for N.C. Judicial District 25, which covers Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties.

Shaffer alleges Gaither rubbed her thigh during a car ride and said he loved the feel of her body. Shaffer also alleges Gaither drank while driving and said he could use his position to “do legal favors for friends.” Gaither denied the “slanderous” allegations and said Shafer levelled them after being terminated.

Shaffer’s attorney told the Charlotte Observer she resigned in fear of Gaither, who told her he had been a wrestler in high school.

The lawsuits underscore, perhaps, that some all-too-common kinds of workplace harassment may continue to plague industries far and wide – from the free-wheeling twenty-something hipsters running an internet startup to a self-described conservative father-of-four running a prosecutor’s office in the buckle of the Bible belt.

If you believe you or someone you know is or has been a victim of workplace harassment or discrimination, you have to act fast. In general, you must file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) within 180 days of the alleged discrimination. In general, you are not allowed to bring suit against your employer for harassment or discrimination until the EEOC has received and considered your complaint.

Call me today for an appointment, and we can talk about your options.

Arnold & Smith, PLLC is a Charlotte based criminal defense, traffic violation defense and civil litigation law firm servicing Charlotte and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know need legal assistance, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828   or find additional resources here.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAWMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

Tinder lawsuit:  http://www.rezlaw.com/News-Events/06-30-14_Complaint_with_Exhibits-1.pdf

Tech Crunch story on Tinder lawsuit: http://techcrunch.com/2014/06/30/tinder-suspends-co-founder-in-wake-of-sexual-harassment-lawsuit/

Wired story on Tinder: http://www.wired.com/2014/04/tinder-valuation/

Charlotte Observer story on DA sex harassment suit: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/06/26/5007574/lawsuit-district-attorney-sexually.html#.U7K2aPldVXk

District Attorney’s office, District 25: http://www.ncdistrictattorney.org/25/home.html

 

 

Image Credit

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ea/Homophobia-Discrimination-NoDiversity-01.jpg

 

 

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