Good morning, Broadsheet readers! SoFi is the latest Silicon Valley company to face sexual harassment charges, Sloane Stephens takes home the U.S. Open trophy, and Google employees pool their info—and find a pay gap. Have a productive Monday.
• SoFi takes a turn. Social Finance, the fin-tech company known as SoFi, is the latest Silicon Valley startup to come under fire for allegations of tolerating sexual harassment.
Numerous employees have accused Nino Fanlo, who was the company’s CFO until May, of touching female employees in a way that made them uncomfortable and of making inappropriate comments—including an alleged reference to a female job applicant’s breasts made in front of several staffers. The company is also being sued by Brandon Charles, a former operations manager, who says he was fired after reporting that another manager harassed female employees. Charles’s suit claims that CEO Michael Cagney fostered a culture of “male bravado” where such harassment was allowed.
The allegations come as the company faces separate claims that some employees were pressured to work extra hours without fair compensation and that “the culture veered out of control at times, with executives breaking furniture and throwing telephones out of anger.”
We’ve seen this movie before. SoFi, like many startups, is under pressure to grow at a blazing pace; the company reports that its staff has doubled in the past year. Growth at all costs was one of the tenets that wreaked havoc at Uber, and it seems that SoFi may have fallen into the same trap. Companies that adhere to the “move fast and break things” mindset would do well to remember that one of the things that can break is company culture—and the norms that protect employees from being harassed and abused.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• The Google gap. A spreadsheet compiled by Google staff members finds that female employees are paid less than their male counterparts at most job levels with the company. While the document is far from comprehensive—it includes salary and bonus information for around 1,200 U.S. Googlers, about 2 percent of the company’s global work force—it doesn’t look great for the tech giant, which is under investigation by the Labor Department for allegations of pay discrimination.
New York Times
• A Fenty first. Rihanna’s hotly anticipated Fenty Beauty launched is now available online and in Sephora stores. RiRi has proven herself to be a business force in footwear and clothing—can she do the same with makeup?
• Stephens serves up a win. Sloane Stephens, who was ranked 957th in August after returning to tour post-January foot surgery, beat No. 15-seeded Madison Keys in just 61 minutes this Saturday to win the U.S. Open—her first ever Grand Slam singles title.
New York Times
• Sad news. A month after suspending Eric Bolling amid allegations that he had sexually harassed female colleagues, Fox News announced that it is parting ways with the host and canceling his show, The Specialists. Tragically, Bolling’s son Eric Chase was found dead the same day.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• What next? Hillary Clinton is back in the news (she gave an interview to CBS yesterday) with her book, What Happened, coming out on Tuesday. The New York Times has some interesting poll data about how people see Clinton’s role post election. Popular responses include raising money for charity and leading efforts to help women and girls; the most unpopular answer: “continue to influence the Democratic party.” The poll also asked whether sexism and gender issues are more or less important in the wake of the election—53% of women and 48% of men said they are more important now.
New York Times
• Enforcer-in-chief. In his quest to bring discipline to the White House, President Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, has named his longtime aide Kirstjen Nielsen as an assistant to the president and his principal deputy. Nielsen has a reputation as an “enforcer”—The New York Times describes her appointment as a “bureaucratic earthquake” that shook the West Wing.
New York Times
• CFPB on borrowed time? Under Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education says it will no longer share information about student loans with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), raising concerns that loan companies will now have greater leniency when it comes to how they go about trying to collect on debts. For context, Americans have filed more than 15,000 complaints about their federal student loans with the CFPB since 2013, “accusing companies of everything from abusive collection calls to trying to stop them from enrolling in government-promoted, income-based repayment plans.”