jeudi 24 mai 2012

Sex-icon Valley: Kleiner partner claims harassment

A female investment banker at Silicon Valley’s acclaimed Kleiner Perkins fund has sued the firm for sexually harassing her and then stripping her of bonuses and duties because she complained.

Ellen Pao, a Princeton engineering graduate with a law degree and MBA from Harvard, said she joined the firm in 2005 as a junior partner and chief of staff to top partner John Doerr.

Within months, a second, married junior partner made “inappropriate sexual approaches” and then pressured her to have sex with him, according to court papers.

When she rebuffed him, he engaged in “offensive, obstructionist and difficult” behavior toward her, it is alleged.

Kleiner Perkins partner Ellen Pao is suing her employer, alleging that after breaking up with a colleague she endured seven years of retaliation from other male partners with "evil motives."

Pao said she finally “succumbed” to the advances and had sex with her co-worker “on two or three occasions.”

After she dumped the co-worker, identified at Ajit Nazre, she suffered seven years of retaliation from other male partners, the court papers allege.

Pao claimed at least 20 other female professionals at the firm were also treated “despicably, maliciously, fraudulently and oppressively” by Nazre and other male supervisors who barred women from meetings and company events.

After repeated complaints to bosses about unwanted advances and retaliations, one supervisor advised she reunite with Nazre, “drop the complaint and even marry him.”

Another boss told her to transfer to the China office, adding that “the personalities of women do not lead to success” at the Silicon Valley firm.

Pao is demanding unspecified damages for workplace violations.

Following an external probe into Nazre’s behavior, he resigned from the firm.

Kleiner spokeswoman Christina Lee said in a statement that “the firm regrets that the situation is being litigated publicly and had hoped the two parties could have reached resolution,” adding that the complaint “is without merit.”

Kleiner Perkins, Ajit Nazre, Ellen Pao, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley, Pao, junior partner, Princeton

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