Do Silicon Valley Workers Face Gender Discrimination?

Updating a blog post we brought you in 2013, the gender discrimination trial of a former tech worker that made national headlines began recently. Photo of discrimination definition

According to Reuters, the lawsuit filed by Ellen Pao against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, an investment firm that has backed tech companies such as Google and Amazon, accuses the company of holding her back from a promotion and better compensation after she complained about harassment by a male partner.

Pao’s lawsuit generated national attention about alleged sexism in Silicon Valley. Since her lawsuit was filed, employees at Pantheon Ventures Ltd and CMEA, and a co-founder of Tinder, have filed similar lawsuits. Many tech firms reportedly have female employment rates that are close to 30 percent and some critics say that in addition to harassment issues, many companies are not doing enough to hire female workers. Additionally, many complaints have been filed relating to the alleged unfair pay of female workers in tech positions.

Pao, now the interim chief executive at the social news service Reddit, claims in her lawsuit that her relationship with Kleiner worsened when she ended an affair with a partner who left the company. She said that the firm also retaliated against her following the affair by not allowing her to be promoted.

Pao’s case went to trial before a jury last week in San Francisco. She is seeking as much as $16 million from the firm. In the source link below, Reuters provides a great timeline of accusations of sexism at Silicon Valley companies.

Fighting Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

Remember, gender discrimination and retaliation can co-exist in work environments. Keep in mind, discrimination based on a person’s gender is illegal under California law. This includes instances where an employee may be passed over for a promotion based upon his or her gender.

It should also be noted that it is a violation of federal law to retaliate against an employee who reports discrimination. Threatening employees with pay reductions, discipline, lost promotions or wrongfully terminating an employee is unlawful and immoral based on his or her decision to report a violation.

If you have been wrongfully terminated after reporting discrimination, you may be entitled to compensation. It may be in your best interest to speak to an attorney. Connect with us on Facebook or on our website for further information about your potential options.

Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles employment attorneys

Did You Know? Disparate impact occurs when an employer’s policies unfavorably affect employees based on race, ethnicity, skin color or gender.