After a panel of 12 jurors dismissed her claims in the gender discrimination lawsuit against former employer, Ellen Pao has decided to appeal the ruling. The ruling was given in March and the jurors found that Ellen Pao’s lawsuit failed in all 4 counts, starting with the most important one – whether gender discrimination was the reason behind her failure to receive a job promotion.
The Timeline of the Case
Ellen Pao formulated her lawsuit two years ago, accusing her former employer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), of sexist business culture. She claimed that her promotion to junior partner position in the company was denied due to her gender, and that her employer retaliated against her when she complained of this situation. She was fired from her position with KPCB in 2012.
Pao, who is now interim CEO of Reddit social media sharing platform, worked as a venture capitalist for KPCB and sought promotion to the lucrative position of junior partner. During the trial, Ellen Pao contended that she has invested the best efforts into obtaining the denied promotion.
On the other hand, her former employers, KPCB, presented her as a cold calculating opportunist, who schemed to climb the ladder to the top position no matter what. In the end, the 6 men and 6 women of the jury decided that Pao did not manage to prove her case against KPCB and pronounced in favor of the latter.
A Mass Media Icon
Ellen Pao has been hailed as the iconic representation of women’s struggle for equal right in the high tech corporate world by a large part of the media. Her lawsuit against KPCB received widespread media coverage and thousands of debates and articles regarding the legitimacy of her case.
Pao went into details regarding her claimed tribulations towards the end of her employment with KPCB, citing, among others, a book of erotic fiction left anonymously on her desk and the retaliation of a co-worker who cut her off from business email exchanges and meetings after she broke off an affair with him.
The notice of appeal has already been filed at the San Francisco state court by Pao’s attorney, but it does not specify the precise legal base for these new proceedings. Ellen Pao herself has not made any comments on her renewed pursuit against her former employer.
In her original claim, Pao requested $16 million as compensation for lost income since her dismissal and an even larger amount in damages. As a result of the negative ruling, she is now responsible to pay KPCB’s legal expenses.
Image Source: Ellen Pao