Two former employees at BitTorrent, the peer-to-peer torrent client acquired by Tron in 2018, have sued Tron founder and CEO Justin Sun for alleged labor violations and harassment.
Unsealed court documents filed in California on Oct. 28 reveal that plaintiffs Lukasz Juraszek, 28, and Richard Hall, 50, are seeking $15 million in damages against Rainberry Inc. (the legal operating entity for the Tron Foundation), Sun and his head of engineering, Cong Li.
The plantiffs’ complaint for damages rests on claims of wrongful termination, racial discrimination, a hostile work environment, fraud and whistleblower retaliation, harassment and unfair employment practices, including labor code violations and unfair business practices.
Hall’s role as product director at BitTorrent and the Tron Foundation spanned seven months until June 2019; Juraszek worked as a software engineer between February and August of the same year.
“Sustained campaign” of hostility
The 70-page lawsuit contends that both plaintiffs faced discrimination on the grounds of their Caucasian origins as well as for their refusal to stay silent about their concerns as to the legality of certain of the company’s operations, including allegedly criminal violations of state and national statues concerning pirated copyright materials and child pornography.
The documents allege that both employees faced hostility and retaliation due to the fact that neither “fit the profile”:
“The kind of worker that defendant Justin Sun sought: an employee who was mainland Chinese, would not object or “rock the boat” when they saw actual or potential illegal activity […] and who would work […] from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, six days a week […] without […] voicing any concerns about illegal, unethical, immoral or unscrupulous business activities.”
Hall claims his employment was summarily terminated after an alleged sustained campaign of discriminatory harassment against him by executive management for his refusal to engage in what he considered to be “blatantly illegal, unethical and unscrupulous” operations.
Juraszek, who contends he faced similar ill-treatment over his objections to the firm’s activities, further claims that the termination of his employment was orchestrated by Li, with the latter allegedly advising Juraszek’s supervisor to hold him to “impossibly high engineering standards” that he “could not possibly accomplish.”
Juraszek claims that this punitive treatment came despite his recent pay grade promotion for superior work performance, and claims that the pressure was little more than recrimination for his own objections to Rainberry’s allegedly “sordid and unethical” business choices.
Sun denies “each and every” allegation
Both plaintiffs seek compensation for alleged hostility and retaliation against them as whistleblowers, among other claims. They have accused Sun of misrepresenting himself as a young, aspirational “whiz-kid” and protege of the esteemed Alibaba founder Jack Ma while he in fact, allegedly, engages in illegal activities and manipulates cryptocurrency for his personal profit.
On Dec. 12, Sun submitted a response to the plaintiffs’ claims, denying “each and every material allegation” contained in their complaint and contending that his actions as an employer were “non-discriminatory, non-harassing, non-retaliatory, reasonable, justified, privileged, done in good faith, and for legitimate, and lawful business purposes.”
Cointelegraph reached out to Sun for comment, but did not receive an immediate response as of press time. This article will be updated should he respond.
Last week, Cointelegraph reported that 17 of the top 25 most-used Tron decentralized applications appear to fall under a gambling classification on a recent list of the most popular Tron protocol-based DApps.