Online dating service eHarmony has famously promoted itself as a way for people to meet folks who are “deeply compatible” with them on number of levels…but the service has also famously shunned gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals looking for same-sex partners. About a year ago eHarmony launched a separate same-sex matching service dubbed Compatible Partners, and now the company has agreed to settle a class action discrimination suit brought against it in the state of California…although it’s admitted to no liability or wrongdoing.
Under the proposed settlement, eHarmony will more explicitly connect Compatible Partners with the primary eHarmony service, and enable customers to use both sites without paying double feels. eHarmony will also set up a $2 million settlement fund; about $500,000 will be set aside to pay claims by the members of the class, while the remainder will be donated to a charity to be designated by the court as well as legal costs for the class counsel. Once the settlement is approved, terms for settlement distribution will be sent to class members.
“We are delighted that eHarmony is making its remarkable technology available to the gay and lesbian community in a way that is more welcoming and inclusive,” said co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs Todd Schneider, of Schneider Wallace Cottrell Brayton Konecky LLP.
Under the settlement, the Compatible Partners site will pick up the eHarmony logo and trademark, and the primary eHarmony Web site wil feature a link to “Gay Dating” alongside links for “Senior Dating,” “Jewish Dating,” “Hispanic Dating” and other categories.
eHarmony competes with sites like Match.com, Yahoo Personals, and other online dating services, and claims to differentiate itself based on an extensive questionaire that quantified 29 “dimensions” of compatibility between potential partners.
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