Sexual harassment, retaliation claims surface for another startup
- An ex-employee at Social Finance Inc.(SoFi), a student loan refinancing startup, is suing the company for firing him after reporting sexual harassment against female coworkers and managers' fraudulent misconduct, reports Bloomberg.
- Brandon Charles, who was a senior operations manager at SoFi, filed a lawsuit in California alleging that he witnessed SoFi managers sexually harassing female colleagues. According to Bloomberg, he also alleges that managers were canceling loans in an attempt to hide errors so they could keep their quarterly bonuses, some of which amounted to as much $15,000. Charles said his complaints to HR were dismissed as unfounded.
- SoFi officials have denied he allegations and vowed to fight them, says Bloomberg.
Claims of sexual harassment and other misconduct are a sadly common occurrence right now in Silicon Valley. Uber and other companies called up similar charges, showing these issues aren't isolated occurrences. The question goes back to what HR's role is in these incidences.
Investigating all allegations is the safe route. HR can't possibly know every inappropriate act that occurs in the workplace, which makes investigations all the more necessary. Unfortunately, many employees view HR has an arm of the corporation, out to protect the company's interests rather than employees. Taking the time to talk informally with employees and implement feedback programs are ways to build trust among workers and encourage them to come forward with information without fearing retaliation.
More to the point: HR can and should be setting ethical standards and policies that promote integrity for their organizations. Many tech companies have found themselves on the wrong side of a suit thanks to a lack of a strong HR department.