Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & Byers, a prestigious Silicon Valley venture capital firm, will be fighting a legal battle, according to the StarTribune. Junior partner Ellen Pao, 42, has accused the firm of gender discrimination and blocking women from advancing in the company to high ranking positions.
Kleiner is one of the most highly-esteemed firms in Silicon Valley, often investing billions for large companies such as Google and Amazon. Senior partners have included the likes of Al Gore and Colin Powell. Kleiner is even considered to be one of the more “progressive” firms; a quarter of its senior partners are women. Pao filed her lawsuit in May in San Francisco Superior Court, sending a shock wave through the industry. Kleiner has denied any wrongdoing and has accused Pao of “fact twisting.”
The lawsuit claims that senior partner Ajit Nazre would exclude her from meetings, exclude her from important email chains and withhold information from her she needed to perform her job duties. The lawsuit also claims another senior partner sent her a sexually explicit book on Valentine’s Day in 2007.
“This is a garden variety sex harassment case,” said Deborah Rhode, a law professor at Stanford University. “It got the buzz because this is such a male dominated culture and it’s such a large firm.”
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