UploadVR, a San Francisco-based virtual reality startup, is being sued by a former employee who alleges the company engaged in sexual discrimination and sex and gender harassment. The employee also claims UploadVR wrongfully terminated her, according to TechCrunch. The lawsuit, filed today in the Superior Court of California, describes UploadVR as plagued by “rampant sexual behavior and focus, creating an unbearable environment for Plaintiff and other female employees.”
UploadVR doesn’t produce virtual reality games, nor does it work on VR hardware. Rather, the company operates a co-working space in San Francisco and runs training courses for prospective developers. It also runs a news website dedicated to the industry and hosts VR-related events and parties in partnership with other tech companies. In a statement, UploadVR co-founders Will Mason, now acting president, and Taylor Freeman, the CEO, claim the lawsuit is without merit.
"We cannot comment directly on any pending litigation. What we want to express is that our employees are our greatest asset and the sole reason for the success of this company,” the two said in a statement. “We are committed to creating a positive community in VR/AR as well as within our company culture and will work to further develop that mission in the future. We are confident that the true nature of how we treat our employees and how we operate as leaders will shine through this unfortunate situation and confirm that these allegations are entirely without merit."
“Defendants purposefully and expressly created a ‘boy’s club’ environment at work, focused on sex and degrading women, including female employees,” the suit goes on to say. The crux of the complaint appears to be the parties UploadVR has hosted at its office in which Mason and Freeman “would frequently talk about much sex they were going to have at each party and how many girls they were going to have sex with.” UploadVR also allegedly has a “kink room” with a bed in its office designed solely for this purpose.
The suit also describes a number of other troubling behaviors at the company that created a hostile and toxic working environment. Those allegedly include parties in which employees invited strippers and prostitutes, and situations in which male employees kicked female employees out of rooms so they could use the spaces for sexual intercourse with party attendees. The suit also alleges widespread discrimination that resulted in male employees being compensated more than female employees, and female employees not being reimbursed for business expenses.
Here’s the complaint in full:
Update May 12th, 8:22PM ET: Added comment from UploadVR.