Global war against women in Silicon Valley: big lawsuit

And there will be more lurid details available to peruse on line in the Ellen Pao workplace discrimination lawsuit against the Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins.

Let me point out, not for the first time, how strong — even tough — a woman has to be to file a headline-making lawsuit like this, and to live through it successfully.

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Ellen Pao, plaintiff in the suit against the prominent venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times

The accuser is Ellen Pao, who worked at one of the valley’s most prominent venture capital firms, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. At the center of the suit is John Doerr, a legendary investor who was Ms. Pao’s boss and, according to court papers, practically a father to her. How the man with the Midas touch let his very proud, very image-conscious shop become embroiled in scandal is a question lurking behind the suit.

From Pao Complaint for Damages:

“In early 2011, KPCB partners led by Chi-Hua Chien organized a dinner event at the San Francisco home of one of the partners. The dinner was for select KPCB partners and leading executives at KPCB-funded companies, as well as leading executives of other companies KPCB thought were influential. Only male KPCB partners and male executives were invited and attended. Mr. Chien deliberately excluded all KPCB women from the event solely on the basis of their gender. Mr. Chien organized a second all-male dinner at the same partner’s home in August 2011. Women were excluded for the same reason. At a weekly Digital Group partner meeting before the second dinner, Mr. Doerr brought up the all-male dinner in response to a female partner’s complaint; Mr. Chien replied that women were not invited because they would ‘kill the buzz’.

From Kleiner Court Memo:

“Additionally, one of KPCB’s defenses to Pao’s discrimination claim is that Pao lacked the ability to lead others, build consensus, and be a team player, which is crucial to a successful career as a venture capital senior investing partner.

View Documents in the Case »

Ms. Pao says a married colleague pressured her into an affair and then retaliated against her when she broke it off. When she complained, she says she was discriminated against and got poor reviews, resulting ultimately in her dismissal. She accuses Kleiner of treating her “despicably, maliciously, fraudulently and oppressively” from “an improper and evil motive amounting to malice.”

UPDATE 3/27/2015. She lost. Ellen Pao Loses Silicon Valley Gender Bias Case Against Kleiner Perkins – NYTimes.com.

UPDATE 6/5/2015. She’s filed an appeal.

Ms. Pao, who lost a gender-bias lawsuit against an elite venture capital firm, made the procedural move in San Francisco Superior Court.

Source: Ellen Pao Files Notice of Appeal in Silicon Valley Bias Suit – NYTimes.com

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