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Ex-Tinder worker sues Los Angeles company she helped found

A Los Angeles workplace can become uncomfortable and eventually unbearable when an employee is subjected to abuse. Victims of sexual harassment are men or women forced to work in environments where unwelcome sexual advances, gestures, images and verbal or written conversations occur. Employers can be liable for failing to prevent or act to stop harassment.

A woman is suing the company she helped start. The ex-marketing vice president at widely-liked mobile dating app Tinder named her former department chief, the company and parent companies Match.com and IAC in a sexual discrimination and harassment lawsuit. The executive claimed she was the target of disparaging comments and messages by the head of Tinder marketing.

The complaint said the head of marketing referred to her as a "whore" in front of Tinder's chief executive officer. The same man reportedly had the worker's co-founder title removed. He said the business would lose credibility with a founder who was "a 24-year-old girl."

The lawsuit also alleged the female employee received "inappropriate messages" from the man, which apparently were discovered during an IAC internal investigation. The plaintiff complained about the colleague's actions and was forced to leave her job.

The woman filed the case in June, after unsuccessfully trying to resolve the matter privately. IAC officials said the company initiated a probe as soon as the marketing employee's complaints became known. IAC suspended the Tinder employee accused of harassment, but also said the plaintiff's allegations against the company were "unfounded."

Technology firms, like those in the hub of California's Silicon Valley, have been accused of not hiring enough women. The tech industry also is criticized for encouraging female-unfriendly workplaces. As some technology companies have learned in court, no U.S. business is immune from laws that ban sexual discrimination and harassment.

Attorneys help victims of workplace abuse build cases that penalize companies that fail to follow federal, state and local employment laws.

Source: USA Today, "Dating app Tinder sued for sexual harassment", June 20, 2014

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