SF Virtual Reality Startup Sued By Former Employee

UploadVR and its top executives created an "unbearable environment for women," suit claims

A San Francisco virtual reality startup is being sued by a former employee who claims the company created an "unbearable environment for women."

The suit claims UploadVR degraded female employees, throwing parties with prostitutes and even putting a bed in one of its offices and calling it the "kink room."

The lawsuit also alleges that women employees were discriminated against, given menial tasks and were not reimbursed for business expenses. Also, the company paid male employees more despite female employees holding the same positions and having similar responsibilities, the suit claims.

Meg Virick, the director of San Jose State's School of Management, says the details of the lawsuit are frustrating. It's just the latest in a string of incidents in which Silicon Valley companies treat women badly, she said.

"I am beginning to see more and more that women are tending to leave," Virick said. "They're talented, they're engineers, and they're running into barriers we are imposing on them because top management needs to step up and say this needs to become an inclusive environment for everyone."

UploadVR co-founders Will Mason and Taylor Freeman were also named in the lawsuit, according to a report from TechCrunch. Freeman is CEO and Mason holds the title of president.

The pair released a statement Tuesday, saying, "Our employees are our greatest asset, and the sole reason for the success of this company. 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."

Mason and Freeman were recently named in the media section of Forbes’ 30 under 30 list. Their company has received funding from General Catalyst, Greycroft’s GC Tracker fund, Colopl and others, according to TechCrunch.

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