SoFi launches investigation into sexual harassment claims

By Ryan Weeks on Monday 4 September 2017

Alternative LendingDigital Banking

Leading fintech lending platform launches its own investigation in anticipation of further allegations.

On Friday, SoFi’s outspoken CEO Mike Cagney sent a note to employees entitled: “Litigation and our culture”. The message addresses the two lawsuits currently facing the company, which allege that it has turned a blind eye to incidences of sexual harassment.

A former SoFi employee named Brandon Charles, who worked at the company for a few months earlier this year, claims that he was witness to the harassment of female employees by managers – and that he was fired for reporting it. SoFi representative Jim Prosser told AltFi in August that Mr. Charles’ claims were investigated and found to be baseless.

But Robert Ottinger, the lawyer handling the case, told The New York Times that there appears to be a “large groundswell of intense employee dissatisfaction at SoFi”.

In his note to employees on Friday, Cagney said that SoFi is confident in its positions on both cases. However, he also revealed that Ottinger “has several people who are prepared to formally allege they were the victims of or witnesses to improper activity at our Healdsburg operations office”.

SoFi is now investigating these allegations using external attorneys, and says that “swift and severe” action will be taken if they are found to be true. Employees will be offered the chance to anonymously provide SoFi’s counsel with information to assist in the investigation.

Cagney’s note says that while it is too early to draw conclusions, the company must continue to raise the bar in its “policies, procedures, and programmes” to create a culture where all may thrive.

“We are taking multiple steps to strengthen our approach to HR and training, including new ways for people to anonymously provide feedback on any issues they discover, and new training and education programs for both managers and individual contributors,” he wrote.

On Saturday, a Bloomberg article stated that Charles had expanded the case he filed last month to allege that Cagney himself “fosters a sexually charged corporate culture than condones unlawful conduct”.

SoFi employs more than 1,000 people across the US, and is one of the world’s largest fintech lenders by loan disbursal metrics. The firm is backed by SoftBank’s Vision Fund, the largest technology investment fund in the world. 

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