Online real estate company Zillow is the subject of several lawsuits that allege a hostile working environment. The latest was filed by former Zillow employee Jennifer Young, a 41 year-old single mother with two children. Young was employed at the Irvine, California office as a real estate agent. Recently, she retained the services of a law firm to sue her former employer because of a “pervasive culture of retaliation and harassment … that placed a premium on sales and a shortfall on human decency and basic employment rights.”
Essentially, Young’s claims are related to age discrimination. In her complaint, she alleges that a sales manager once asked her whether or not she was “too old to close.” Young also asserts that she was admonished to “try and keep up with us.”
Young alleges that her difficulties in the office were exacerbated after she was involved in a car accident that left her injured. Claims in her complaint say that she was forced to stand for several hours at a time and not permitted to sit. In October of 2014, Young’s ongoing injuries caused her to seek hospitalization. She reached out to Zillow’s human resources department, requesting accommodation for her injuries. However, Young claims that her sales book was assigned to another agent, one who was considerably younger. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that Young was illegally fired for job abandonment when her doctors were not able to provide Zillow with a note explaining her absence when it was requested.
Zillow is the subject of three other lawsuits, each of them relating to the employment practices used at the Irvine location. Company management has already fired two individuals in relation to sexual harassment claims made in one of these suits.
Company representatives released a statement that says in part: “We take any allegation about our workplace very seriously and are investigating these claims.” The statement goes on to say that, “Our people are our greatest asset.”
Time will tell how Zillow ultimately handles this latest in a string of employment practice lawsuits.