Ellen Pao's $16 million gender discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins heads to court
Ellen Pao, formerly a partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, sued her then-employer for gender discrimination and retaliation in May 2012.
Pao is seeking $16 million. She alleges that she was pressured into having a brief affair with fellow Kleiner partner Ajit Nazre and that other partners discriminated against her after she ended the relationship.
In her suit, Pao claims that "inter-office sex" and "steamy advances from senior partners" were common at Kleiner Perkins. She said she was excluded from email threads and male-only dinners hosted by former Vice President and Kleiner partner Al Gore. Another male partner told her she was left out because women "kill the buzz," according to her lawsuit.
She's currently interim CEO at Reddit.
Kleiner has repeatedly denied all of Pao's allegations. Shortly after the suit was made public, Doerr published a note on the firm's web site, saying it had hired an investigator who "concluded that the allegations are without merit and that our firm does not discriminate on the basis of gender."
During a hearing, Judge Ernest Goldsmith asked the two sides if they had tried to settle out of court.
"It went to mediation but that's all that's appropriate to say," Pao's attorney said, according to the Business Times.
"To say that it was nonproductive is an understatement," Kleiner's attorney said.
We've reached out to lawyers for Pao and Kleiner and will update when we hear back.