John Giamatteo

BlackBerry asks Court to dismiss some claims in Sexual Harrassment Lawsuit

BlackBerry has never publicly disclosed that Giamatteo was the subject of a sexual harassment review

BlackBerry and CEO John Giamatteo have asked a U.S. court to dismiss some of the claims made by a former employee who alleges Giamatteo sexually harassed her and then retaliated against her after she reported the behaviour.

In a filing made in a Northern California court this week, the company and Giamatteo say the unnamed plaintiff’s claims have no merit and are filled with “falsehoods and mischaracterizations.”

“The allegations made by the plaintiff fall well short of conduct that amounts to sexual harassment or discrimination,” BlackBerry spokeswoman Camilla Scassellati Sforzolini said in an email on Wednesday.

The company and Giamatteo want the court to throw out claims the plaintiff made suggesting she had encountered a hostile work environment, discriminatory pay and unpaid wages. They also want allegations about negligent hiring and failure to prevent harassment and discrimination to be dropped.

Giamatteo and the company were sued by a former executive at the company for what she alleges was a pattern of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation, which BlackBerry knew of before making him CEO, she claimed. She claims she was fired days before Giamatteo’s ascension was announced.

The lawsuit was filed anonymously due to potential unlawful retaliation. The woman known as Jane Doe claims in court documents that Giamatteo suggested the pair travel together and at a dinner she presumed was a business meeting, allegedly told her stories about how he dresses up when he’s out with his daughters so people mistake him for “a dirty old man” out on a date with them.

When she reported the behaviour, she said she started being cut out of meetings and later, was told she was being terminated effective immediately as part of a “restructuring.”

In the new court filings, the company and Giamatteo say the plaintiff lost her job at BlackBerry not because she reported harassment but because she was part of a layoff that culled more than 200 staff from the firm as it was separating its cybersecurity and internet of things businesses.