Five women have filed lawsuits alleging that eXp Realty disregarded their complaints about two male agents who were allegedly targeting their female colleagues at work events fueled by alcohol.
The closing night celebration at the yearly eXp Realty conference was, according to the company, “legendary.”
With a valuation of $2 billion, eXp Realty is among the most rapidly expanding brokerages globally, boasting a staggering 90,000 agents. During this memorable October evening, eXp Realty was proudly displaying its achievements.
Inside the Omnia nightclub at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, over 5,000 real estate agents filled the dimly lit space, surrounding an open bar. The crowd moved energetically to the pulsating lights of a chandelier resembling a spaceship, while confetti rained down from above, creating a vibrant atmosphere that lasted until the early morning hours.
It was a testament to eXp’s ethos: Work diligently, play vigorously — and amass wealth along the way. However, in over 30 interviews with present and past eXp agents, women have revealed a darker side to the company’s culture. The highest-earning agents are given a revered status, while allegations of wrongdoing are disregarded.
In two separate lawsuits, one filed in February and the other just recently, five women detailed a disturbing pattern of predatory behavior exhibited by two prominent agents. These women claimed that they were drugged by the agents during eXp events filled with alcohol, and four of them further disclosed that they were sexually assaulted. Despite years of complaints, executives turned a blind eye until the first lawsuit was filed, according to agents.
Furthermore, current and former agents have asserted that the company has also overlooked allegations of other instances of sexual misconduct, and there has been no change in the company’s culture.
eXp Realty operates under a unique structure where agents are recruited by their peers, who then receive a portion of their earnings. This creates a situation where money is constantly flowing upwards. As a result, there is little motivation to address allegations of assault against high-earning agents, according to women who have spoken out.
According to Tricia Turner, a 53-year-old broker from Houston who left eXp in August, “Everyone is solely focused on recruiting. Their main goal is not to sell homes or represent clients. The agents who rapidly expand their teams receive the most attention and support from the company. Unfortunately, it seems like they can get away with anything.”
One of the individuals implicated in the legal action ceased working with the company in 2020, while eXp severed ties with the other individual in March. This occurred when the women involved in the lawsuit named Glenn Sanford, the CEO of eXp, as a defendant. Mr. Sanford has stated that the matter has been resolved.
During a November earnings call with investors, Mr. Sanford acknowledged, “We believe that we had two bad actors in our agent base.”
However, eXp agents have reported that the culture of drinking and partying in hotel rooms has persisted. Numerous videos on social media from the Las Vegas conference depict agents happily posing for the camera with drinks in hand.
Even as recently as May, following the filing of the initial lawsuit, a female broker disclosed that she had been drugged and assaulted by a vendor during a conference in Florida.
The allegations deal another blow to the troubled real estate sector, where male executives hold the majority of positions on executive boards, while women constitute the majority of agents and regularly face harassment and abuse in the workplace. Additionally, the industry suffers from the largest gender pay gap in the United States. In August, The New York Times revealed widespread claims of sexual harassment within the National Association of Realtors, the professional organization responsible for establishing ethical guidelines for Realtors in the country. Shortly after the article’s publication, the organization’s president resigned, and in the subsequent weeks, both the chief executive and the head of human resources announced their early retirements.
In the initial legal case, one woman claimed to have no recollection of anything after consuming a cocktail until she woke up unclothed the following morning in her Newport Beach hotel room. Another woman stated that she lost consciousness after being given a drink at a real estate conference in Beverly Hills. A third woman mentioned that her memory became hazy after having a cocktail at an eXp recruiting event in Las Vegas. Additionally, another woman believed that she was drugged and sexually assaulted at the same gathering.
According to the complaint, the woman who filed the second lawsuit stated that she experienced blackout episodes on multiple occasions while spending time with the accused individuals.
Version 1: When contacted via phone regarding the numerous accusations against him, Mr. Bjorkman, aged 50, firmly denied their veracity, stating, “It is certainly false.” Mr. Golden’s attorney, Peter Levine, dismissed the charges as groundless and lacking in substance, emphasizing that “the plaintiffs’ allegations are abhorrent. Mr. Golden strongly denounces any form of sexual assault and exploitation.”
Mr. Sanford chose not to provide a comment as he is a defendant in the lawsuits. According to a representative, eXp’s agents are independent contractors rather than company employees.
“The eXp Realty representative emphasized our strong stance against abuse, harassment, and exploitation in a statement sent via email. We take these matters seriously, even when they involve independent real estate agents who utilize our services. The allegations in this case pertain to assaults allegedly committed by independent agents who were never employed by eXp. As soon as the accusers brought these claims to our attention, we promptly and respectfully addressed them in accordance with our values and the law.”
When reached for comment regarding the additional lawsuit, she was unavailable for immediate response.
However, according to two former eXp employees and a former consultant for the company, they had discussions with company executives, including Mr. Sanford, about the allegations involving Mr. Bjorkman and Mr. Golden months before the initial lawsuit was filed. They criticized eXp for its failure to take action.
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