Citizen app hit with sex, race discrimination suit amid heated union battle

1 year ago 116

Controversial nationalist information app Citizen is facing a favoritism suit from an ex-employee, adjacent arsenic it wages a knock-down, drag-out conflict with national organizers.

In a suit filed this week, ex-Citizen expert Heather Bearden accused the Peter Thiel-backed crime-watch app of fostering a hostile enactment situation wherever she was “verbally abused, ostracized and humiliated” by superiors based connected her contention and intersexual orientation. 

Bearden’s superiors besides passed her implicit for promotions and were quicker to constitute her up for infractions due to the fact that she is black, Native American and gay, the Brooklyn nonmigratory alleged successful the suit filed successful Manhattan national tribunal connected Tuesday.  

“She was ostracized and humiliated,” Darnisha A. Lewis-Bonilla, an lawyer for Bearden, told The Post. “This was a effect of her contention and intersexual orientation.” 

Additionally, Bearden claims that users of Citizen — a nationalist information app that sends retired alerts with images and videos of adjacent fires, shootings and different emergencies — posted racist and homophobic presumption similar the connection “f——t” connected the app and called for unit “including the shooting of Black people.” 

When Bearden complained astir the disturbing contented successful January 2020 and asked the institution to instrumentality a “zero tolerance” cognition toward the users who station it, Citizen failed to code her concerns for months until yet implementing a hatred code argumentation successful June, according to the suit. 

Citizen app lawsuitFormer Citizen worker Heather Bearden says the institution failed to ace down connected hatred speech.United States District Court

Bearden — a Brooklyn nonmigratory who made a $64,000 wage astatine Citizen — says she yet discontinue her occupation successful October 2020 due to the fact that she was “unable to endure the favoritism and hostile enactment environment.” 

The company, which is headquartered successful downtown Manhattan, has not yet filed a ineligible effect to the suit, according to tribunal records. 

Citizen main of unit Emily Eckert told The Post that Citizen is “not successful presumption to remark connected particulars of ongoing litigation matters” but added that “creating a harmless and divers enactment situation is indispensable for america astatine Citizen.”

Bearden’s favoritism suit isn’t the lone situation facing Citizen, which has courted contention and raised $133 cardinal successful task superior since it was archetypal founded arsenic “Vigilante” successful 2015. 

In September, a radical of Citizen employees filed with the National Labor Relations Board to clasp a national election — a determination that The Post archetypal reported was prompted by efforts to outsource immoderate enactment to overseas contractors. 

The national is being organized done the Communications Workers of America, which besides represents Verizon and AT&T employees. It would mostly screen employees of Citizen’s cardinal operations division, which includes radical who constitute alerts astir emergencies based connected 911 calls and idiosyncratic reports. 

Citizen has travel retired with guns blazing against the organizing effort, blasting “meddling from an extracurricular union” and tapping white-shoe instrumentality steadfast McDermott, Will & Emery to correspond the institution successful conversations with the NLRB. 

Organizers person accused Citizen of trying to sabotage the national push, including done amerciable “surveillance,” “threats,” and “interrogation” of employees, according to NLRB filings made by Communications Workers of America lawyer Nick Hanlon. 

Citizen app lawsuitCitizen’s bureau is located successful downtown Manhattan.Google Maps

Union predetermination ballots were mailed to Citizen workers connected Nov. 5 pursuing a failed effort by Citizen’s attorneys to hold the vote. Citizen had argued that holding the predetermination done the message would “disenfranchise” distant workers who could beryllium traveling oregon moving remotely from locations wherever they won’t beryllium capable to formed their votes.

The attorneys asked the NLRB to propulsion backmost the predetermination and said it should beryllium conducted electronically — a imaginable that Hanlon blasted arsenic “a wide effort to impede and hold the predetermination done the filing of frivolous briefs and appeals” successful a missive to the NLRB.

The NLRB yet rejected Citizen’s petition to hold the election. Mail-in ballots were sent to employees past Friday and indispensable beryllium returned by Dec. 1, according to bureau records. Votes volition beryllium tallied by Dec. 17, records show.

Citizen app lawsuitCitizen CEO Andrew FrameSteve Jennings

Citizen declined to remark connected the national effort. Hanlon and the Communications Workers of America did not reply to requests for comment.