VICE Investigates Verkada's Harassing "RawVerkadawgz"By IPVM Team, Published Oct 26, 2020, 01:10pm EDT
Now, VICE News has conducted its own in-depth investigation building upon IPVM's reporting.
Key new items VICE found include:
- VICE found that the Slack channel that IPVM first reported on was called "#RawVerkadawgz where they made sexually explicit jokes about women who worked at the company."
- In particular, a Sales Director posted '"Face match… find me a squirt," and the matched photos include one that "belonged to a Verkada employee, her mouth wide open" with two Verkada employees "reacted with laughing emojis. Another commented "lol."
- VICE emphasized the misuse of Verkada's video surveillance system, "Besides being used in demonstrations of its technology, these cameras have been used to sexually harass employees."
- A number of former Verkada employees were interviewed, criticizing the company's prioritization of money over ethics, with one declaring, "Verkada's singular value is making money".
VICE also obtained a screenshot of the 'Ask Me Anything' where they declined to answer 'why are the men who sexually harassed their female colleagues able to keep their jobs'?
New comments from Verkada that VICE shared include:
- Verkada saying that "This isolated incident was investigated and all individuals involved were disciplined accordingly. This process included our HR department working with the women impacted by this incident–offering professional and personal resources to ensure they supported our course of action and felt safe and comfortable in their jobs."
- VICE says Verkada's CEO sent a company-wide email describing the incident calling it vulgar but not sexual harassment: "Last year on August 8, 2019," Kaliszan wrote, "a member of our sales team misused access to our office camera footage–access that everyone on our team is afforded and that the sales team uses frequently to demo the product for potential clients–and shared a screenshot of a coworker on a private Slack channel with vulgar commentary"
- Verkada's CEO said 10 employees were part of the channel and that no one was fired: "This investigation found that one person was responsible for instigating the incident and nine other members of the team were part of the Slack channel.... I imposed the largest financial penalty in our company’s history on the instigator and had individual disciplinary discussions with each of the other participants."
Verkada has an immense amount of funding backed by a who's who of Silicon Valley VCs, including Sequoia, so they have resources to weather scrutiny.
However, VICE investigating this brings these concerns to a much broader audience. This could impact Verkada's ability to attract customers, partners, and new employees as well as potentially undermine Verkada's Chairman Hans Robertson's aim to "make the culture really fun" for his sales athletes.
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