Verbal abuse, ‘sex-driven’ culture alleged at Guaranteed Rate – Chicago Tribune


Good morning, Chicago.

Earlier this year, a former loan officer at the Chicago-based mortgage company Guaranteed Rate filed a lawsuit against two high-producing loan officers at the firm, alleging sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

Her complaint alleges one of the male loan officers sexually harassed her at a corporate event, that the other loan officer pressured her not to report the incident to human resources, and that for the remainder of her employment the man who made the remark used “gender-based and demeaning slurs to refer to” her and other women at the company.

A Tribune investigation published over the weekend found that many former employees who spoke to reporters described experiencing or witnessing persistent verbal abuse and a misogynistic environment while working at Guaranteed Rate.

Many told the Tribune that Victor Ciardelli, the company’s president, CEO and founder, was quick to berate, swear at and demean employees.

“Every person that works directly under Mr. Ciardelli is terrified of his potential anger outbursts,” one former assistant wrote to human resources after she was let go from the company a couple of years ago.

Ciardelli and Guaranteed Rate vehemently denied all of these allegations, describing the company as a positive workplace environment where women in particular are supported. The firm forwarded more than 80 testimonials from current and former employees.

Guaranteed Rate also retained an outside law firm that, even before receiving the reporters’ list of questions, threatened to sue the Tribune for defamation.

Read the full story from the Tribune’s Lizzie Kane and Talia Soglin.

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