May 15, 2017 - Technology

VR company hit with sex discrimination lawsuit

A former employee of Upload VR has filed a lawsuit against the company alleging gender discrimination, a sexist work culture, and claiming she was wrongfully fired, as first reported by TechCrunch.

In her complaint, filed in San Francisco Superior Court last week, the former employee alleges that male employees, including UploadVR's founders, would frequently discuss their sex lives in the office, engage in sexual activity and drug use in the office, and make inappropriate comments about the company's female employees. UploadVR operates co-working offices as well as an industry publication and other services focused on virtual and augmented reality.

The former employee, who worked in social media for UploadVR from May 2016 until this past March, also claims that female employees were asked to clean the office, and were paid less than male employees. She says she was fired after complaining about the situation to her newly-hired manager in March, according to the suit.

Axios has contacted UploadVR and will update this story if we hear back.

Silicon Valley trend: If true, what the former employee describes is all too common in Silicon Valley, which has a long history of "boys club" tendencies. Most famously, former Kleiner Perkins employee Ellen Pao sued the venture capital firm for an allegedly sexist work culture that denied her opportunities to advance in the firm. Pao ultimately lost her lawsuit in a 2015 jury trial, but the case brought to the public details of common sexism found in the tech industry. A recent blog post by a former Uber engineer also detailed allegations of a hostile workplace for women, leading the company to hire former attorney general Eric Holder to lead an investigation into the allegations.

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