A former Unity employee is suing the company and ten of its employees, alleging the firm’s working environment was “highly sexualised” and accusing CEO John Riccitiello of sexual harassment.
According to Variety, Anne Evans – who worked as vice president of global talent acquisitions before being dismissed – has filed a complaint with the Superior Court of California. The filing details how male colleagues “spoke openly about women in a sexual manner, made sexist jokes, and flirted with and pursued sexual relationships with female employees and contractors”.
“During her time at Unity, Evans observed that the workplace was highly sexualized,” the lawsuit alleges. “Company CEO, John Riccitiello, and other men in management positions spoke openly about women in a sexual manner, made sexist jokes, and flirted with and pursued sexual relationships with female employees and contractors.
“Soon after Evans joined Unity, Riccitiello began making inappropriate sexual comments to her. For instance, at The Battery (a private members-only club in San Francisco where both Riccitiello and Evans were members), Riccitiello would comment to Evans about how he thought the way she walked was ‘sexy,’ and how he could not believe she was a lesbian.”
“On another occasion at The Battery where both Evans and Riccitiello happened to be present, Riccitiello propositioned Evans, asking her if she would like to go to his hotel room (he had recently separated from his wife and was living in a nearby hotel),” the lawsuit stated. “Evans declined the invitation. She later learned that Riccitiello then propositioned two of Evans’ direct reports who had been at the club to return to his hotel room for a ‘threesome.’ Those employees also rejected Riccitiello. The next morning, Riccitiello pulled Evans into a conference room at work and instructed her to not talk about the events from the prior evening. He also said that one of the two women had been trying to make a move on him; a statement that Evans knew to be untrue.”
“It would be good for your career if you keep your mouth shut about last night”, the lawsuit stated, stating Unity’s later termination of Evans’ employment was “motivated, in substantial part, by her sex and her unwillingess to conform to the company’s sexually-charged environment and rejection of sexual advances from the company’s CEO”.
Evans said she disclosed to a company survey that she felt she had nowhere safe to go with these complaints, and other colleagues felt the same, too.
In a statement in response to the accusations, a spokesperson said: “Unity intends to vigorously defend against the false allegations asserted by Anne Evans. Following a third-party investigation that surfaced facts that Evans engaged in serious misconduct and established multiple instances in which she demonstrated a gross lapse in judgment, Unity terminated her employment.
“This was an undesirable outcome for Evans, and we had been working with her on the details of her departure when she filed a public lawsuit that includes false and damaging claims against the company, our CEO and a number of our employees. Before and throughout the investigation, Evans had multiple opportunities to share her concerns about her experiences at the company through confidential and objective mechanisms, yet never did.
“We take these issues seriously at Unity, just as we did when we learned about concerns involving Evans. We do not tolerate harassment, and we have policies in place to address relationships in the workplace.”
The full lawsuit is available below.
Anne Evans vs. Unity by on Scribd