Last month, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, a major venture capital firm that was an early investor in Google and Amazon, filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming that she endured several years of sexual harassment and discrimination: Venture Capital Partner Claims Sexual Harassment.
Ellen Pao says that beginning in 2006 she was sexually harassed by Ajit Nazre, an investment partner who left the firm last year. When she complained to senior partners and others at the firm, they retaliated against her. According to Pao's lawsuit:
- Pao alleges that former partner, Ajit Nazre, made "inappropriate sexual approaches" during a trip to Germany in 2006. She "rebuffed his advances." As a result, he was "brusque" and "distant".The lawsuit names John Doerr, Bing Gordon, Ray Lane, Chi-Hua Chien and Ted Schlei. More here: Legendary VC Firm Kleiner Perkins Has Been Sued For Discrimination.
- Nazre allegedly continued to press her on a sexual relationship, and "falsely told her that his wife had left him," according to the suit. When she refused his advances, he allegedly, "engaged in offensive, obstructionist and difficult behavior."
- However, "eventually succumbed to Mr. Nzare's insistence on sexual relations on two or three occasions." When she stopped the relationship, he "engaged in retaliation," says the suit.
- She claims her reaction to his unwanted advances and her gender caused her to be passed over for promotions.
- Pao's lawsuit says Randy Komisar, a Senior Partner, told her that "the personalities of women do not lead to success at KPCB, because women are quiet."
- Komisar was also allegedly given the board seat at one of the companies Pao worked with. According to the suit, KPCB partner John Doerr told her she deserved the seat, but Komisar "needed a win," so he got it.
- In addition, Pao alleges that females in the firms were often left out of dinner meetings held by male counterparts. She says women weren't invited because they would "kill the buzz."
Sure, the details make for a pretty juicy story. But the fact of the matter is, women are still severely underrepresented in Silicon Valley, regardless of how this lawsuit pans out. As this writer points out, that's not exactly news... but that's still the story: Scandal in Silicon Valley: Why the Ellen Pao Suit Isn’t Helping Women in Tech.