Silicon Valley CEO Wants a Massive Payout in Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Reddit’s new interim CEO Ellen Pa, is seeking a massive $16 million in reparations stemming from a 2012 gender discrimination lawsuit against her former employee, venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfied & Byers.

Pao announced the sum she’s seeking at a court hearing on Monday at San Francisco Superior Court. She alleges that she was forced into having an affair with a married male junior partner in 2006 and that she was blocked from receiving promotions after she told management about the incident. She alleges that once the affair was exposed, her career stalled — because she was a woman.

According to SiliconValley.com, the lawsuit stated that Pao “experienced continued retaliation after she complained about sexual harassment to the highest level of management of KPCB.” Pao was fired from KPCB in 2012 based on her performance. The firm has reportedly denied all accusations, saying they were “without merit.”

A judge had allowed Pao to question a former female colleague, Aileen Lee, about a dinner that male partners attended at former Vice President Al Gore’s apartment, SiliconValley notes. However, that motion was opposed by attorneys representing Kleiner, Perkins et al. citing it as being “irrelevant” and an “intrusion” to Lee’s privacy.

Pao’s lawsuit arrives in the midst of calls for more diversity in Silicon Valley’s tech sector, including the hiring of more women into higher-profile positions. Pao and KPCB are scheduled to meet again on February 17; the day the trial is set to begin. Jury selection will reportedly take place that same week.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter: @AdelleNaz


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