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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.

Go deeper

36 mins ago - World

China and Russia vaccinate the world — for now

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

While the U.S. and Europe focus on vaccinating their own populations, China and Russia are sending millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries around the world.

Why it matters: China's double success in controlling its domestic outbreak and producing several viable vaccines has allowed it to focus on providing doses abroad — an effort that could help to save lives across several continents.

Ina Fried, author of Login
46 mins ago - Technology

Report: China will dominate AI unless U.S. invests more

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S., which once had a dominant head start in artificial intelligence, now has just a few year's lead on China and risks being overtaken unless government steps in, according to a new report to Congress and the White House.

Why it matters: Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who chaired the committee that issued the report, tells Axios that the U.S. risks dire consequences if it fails to both invest in key technologies and fully integrate AI into the military.

Americans agree about more issues than they realize

Data: Populace Inc.; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Many Americans assume the rest of the country doesn't share their political and policy priorities — but they're often wrong, according to new polling by Populace, first seen by Axios.

Why it matters: The polling reveals that despite growing political polarization, Americans share similar long-term goals and priorities for the country.

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