Ellen Pao, the former Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers junior partner who sued the high-powered Silicon Valley venture capital firm for gender discrimination after she was allegedly sexually harassed, targeted for revenge by a former lover, and passed over for a promotion, lost on each the suit's four counts Friday.
The fourth count—determining whether Pao had been fired as retribution for filing her lawsuit—was briefly up in the air: the initial vote was 8-4, which is not a sufficient majority. The judge sent the jury back for further deliberation, and two hours later, they made their decision in favor of Kleiner.
Pao, currently the interim CEO of Reddit, had claimed she experienced blatant discrimination over a period of years, and others in the company retaliated against her for reporting it. Kleiner Perkins argued that Pao, who has an engineering degree from Princeton, and an MBA and a J.D. from Harvard, didn't possess the leadership skills and "genetic makeup" to be a VC, and was better suited as support staff.
A diverse group of jurors decided Pao's gender—and her decision to report Ajit Nazre, a fellow Kleiner partner and former lover, for allegedly retaliating at work after she broke off their sexual relationship—was not the reason she was denied a promotion that could have been worth millions.
Pao's suit sought $16 million in damages.
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