In January of 2014, the state of Colorado legalized recreational marijuana sales, approving over 100 seller license applications. By 2016, information obtained by the Colorado Department of Revenue revealed that the legal marijuana industry was bringing in over $1 billion annually. Numerous companies sought to profit from the growing industry and startup business Tradiv decided that bringing marijuana to online marketplaces was the next step in expanding the now legal sales. Tradiv introduced themselves to the market place as a marijuana wholesaler who brought the ease and convenience of online shopping to recreational marijuana use. Expected to become the leader in online cannabis marketplaces, Tradiv shocked the industry by closing after accusations of sexual harassment and wrongful termination led to a lawsuit.
Tradiv was founded by college students Aeron Sullivan and Geoff Doran. The two wanted to create an online marketplace that connected cultivators and dispensaries with legitimate clients. Initially the venture had trouble gaining traction and startup capital, but after being introduced to Colorado-based business owners, the pair was able to relocate their business to Colorado while securing much needed investments. The company was an immediate public success, but privately employees complained of unusual or inappropriate behavior. One employee did more than complain, she filed a lawsuit against the company.
Lisa Buffo, the chief marketing officer of Tradiv, accused co-founder Geoff Doran of sexual harassment. Buffo claimed the work culture of Tradiv was sexist and did not protect its employees. After meeting Doran during the launch of Tradiv Lisa Buffo stated that she and Doran were involved in a brief relationship which was disclosed when she began working at Tradiv. When Buffo terminated the relationship she claims Duran began harassing her via text and threatened to ruin her career. The situation reached its boiling point in December of 2015 when the pair had a heated argument outside of Buffo’s apartment.
Doran is accused of leaving multiple threatening voice messages, text messages, and hitting Buffo’s vehicle with his own. Buffo’s employment was terminated and, according to an unnamed Tradiv executive, the company did not discipline Doran. In May of 2016, a lawsuit was filed against the company for the wrongful termination of Lisa Buffo with an amended suit in March of 2017, accusing Doran of discrimination and harassment. Co-founder Sullivan and executive chairman Todd Palmieri were both accused of knowing about the harassment and doing nothing to stop it.
In the time period immediately preceding Lisa Buffo’s termination, Tradiv was preparing to expand their business to California. The company believed that California would be a good fit for the type of niche they created in Colorado. Once operations in California began, the company lost money and eventually had to abandon that market. When Buffo’s lawsuit was filed, the company, already hemorrhaging money, realized they could not afford the legal expenses associated with a wrongful termination and Tradiv voted to dissolve the company on December 13, 2017.
Get the Advice You Need
Tradiv is just one of a growing list of companies whose executives were accused of sexual harassment and discrimination. Despite of Colorado’s tough stance on any form of discrimination, women continue to find themselves at risk in the work place. If you believe that you were the victim of sexual harassment, discrimination, or wrongful termination we can help. The discrimination attorneys at HKM Employment Attorneys are prepared to provide you with the advice you need. Contact us to schedule an initial consultation at our conveniently-located Denver, Colorado office today.