Former Unity VP Sues Company For Sexual Harassment, Wrongful Termination
A previous version of this story stated that Unity filed its statement with San Francisco Superior Court. This was not the case. We regret the error.
Former vice president of human resources at Unity Technologies Anne Evans is suing the company for sexual harassment and wrongful termination, the former of which falls on former EA CEO and current Unity CEO John Riccitiello.
The lawusit alleges that, during her time at Unity, Evans found her workplace was "highly sexualized." Riccitiello and others 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."
Among various incidents, the lawsuit says Riccitiello made inappropriate sexual comments to Evans soon after she began working at the company. "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." After this, Riccitiello began making more explicit advances, inviting her to private events in the company's home of San Francisco, asking if she'd "like to get to him [him] better," propositioning her, and telling her explicitly after a team dinner in Paris that he wanted to have sex with her. She rejected these advances, after which Riccitiello would tell her not to talk about those events, saying "It would be good for your career if you keep mouth [sic] shut about last night." Evans did not report Riccitiello for fear of retaliation.
As for the wrongful termination claim, Evans claims she was terminated after an incident involving two other employees' unauthorized access to the results of confidential employee survey. An internal investigation eventually lead to Evans' termination due to her accepting gifts from one of the two employees who had accessed the results (they had been in a consensual relationship at the time). This, Evans was told, was against company policy, despite the lawsuit's claim that "there is no policy at Unity, written or otherwise, addressing the giving or accepting of gifts among employees." (During the investigation Evans pointed out Riccitiello had had a relationship with another higher-up and accepted gifts as part of that relationship, and that there was "confusion" among Unity employees about how to approach and report relationships.)
The lawsuit claims "Unity's decision to terminate Evans was motivated, in substantial part, by her sex and her unwillingness to conform to the company's sexually-charged environment and rejection of sexual advances from the company's CEO." As a result, the lawsuit asserts, Evans has suffered lost income, benefits, emotional distress, and "other general damages."
A Unity spokesperson has sent over a statement to Game Informer regarding the matter.