A federal district court in California has ruled that a former executive for Tinder, the popular dating app, must resolve her sexual assault claim against the company’s CEO in private arbitration. This is in accordance with an arbitration agreement she signed a full year after the alleged assault, which was determined to apply retroactively. The executive claimed the agreement was forced on her to silence her, but the judge determined it was still valid and enforceable.
The sexual assault claim arises from an incident at a holiday party in 2016, where, the executive alleges, she was forcibly groped and kissed by the CEO of Tinder. He also allegedly made a crude remark indicating he felt sexual arousal in the presence of the executive. The incident was reported in April of 2017, and after an internal investigation by Match Group, the parent company of Tinder, found no wrongdoing by Tinder’s CEO, the executive sued both Match Group and the CEO. She signed an arbitration agreement in January 2018, more than a year after the alleged sexual assault and more than half a year after reporting the incident, and was fired in December 2018, allegedly in retaliation for the lawsuit.
The federal judge overseeing the case ruled that, even though the arbitration agreement wasn’t signed until after the assault already happened, it was still enforceable due to its broad language and lack of clear time limit. As a result, the executive will need to resolve her case in private arbitration, away from public scrutiny. Currently, the arbitration is on hold, pending a possible appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in your workplace or suffered retaliation for reporting sexual harassment, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced New York employment lawyer who can protect your legal rights and advocate on your behalf during the legal process. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer who has 39 years of experience in handling the many aspects of employment law. To schedule an appointment with New York City employment lawyer Steve Mitchell Sack, call (917) 371-8000.