Ellen Pao, who sued Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers for sexual discrimination, claims on Quora that she has been fired by her employer.
But in the most watched and talked about story of Silicon Valley this year, there is a new twist to this ongoing saga, the two sides are not able to agree on her status.
Ms. Pao wrote on Quora, a question-and-answer website, that she was told Monday was her last day at the job. “I have been terminated from my job at KPCB,” she wrote. “On Monday afternoon, senior management told me to clean out my office, leave, and not come back.” Mrs. Pao said had had no plans to leave the firm prior to her termination.
Initially Kleiner Perkins rejected that claim and said Ms. Pao remained an employee. However, just in the past few hours, they admitted she was leaving the company but not in a retaliatory way.
Ms. Pao’s lawyer, Alan Exelrod, said that Ms. Pao “was cut off from access to company documents and told to transition off her corporate boards within 30 days.” Mr. Exelrod said he would use this termination as proof of gender bias by Kleiner in their lawsuit against the Silicon Valley investment giant. KPCB responded to Mrs. Pao’s lawyer with this statement:
Kleiner’s actions were not retaliatory. The firm informed Ellen Pao that it would be separating her employment as the result of longstanding, documented performance issues and not because of the litigation or because she is a woman. The firm was also generous and fair in its offer to help her transition her career in ways that are inconsistent with retaliatory conduct. They were willing to keep her on the payroll as an employee for 6 months and to vest in venture funds, and then pay her severance, all without asking her to release her pending legal claims which is entirely inconsistent with an intent to retaliate. Her lawyer may believe he has additional legal claims based on retaliation. Their view seems to be that even existing performance problems prohibit an employer from taking action once an employee has sued. We believe otherwise.
Before today, Ms. Pao has continued to work at Kleiner Perkins, despite the lawsuit by her. This is not common as most employees in her situation are fired or left on their own before a lawsuit is filed.
This episode will surely add more drama in an already highly publicized case in the world of high tech and startup financing. Expect more claims and counterclaims as the lawsuit winds its way through the courts.
|GOT A TIP? TELL US.||LIKE TO WRITE? contribute to TS.|
Write a blog about your startup, get 5 or more plugs and your startup will be featured here.
TigerStartups - Chicago, IL