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3 Ways Women Are Changing Silicon Valley Culture (Slideshow)

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3. Judge Rules Against Arbitration in Ellen Pao’s Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Kleiner Perkins

On May 10, Ellen Pao, a junior partner at well-respected Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, filed a sexual discrimination lawsuit against the firm and her colleagues including noted venture capitalist John Doerr. According to the suit, which was filed in California Superior Court in San Francisco, Pao alleged that she and 20 other female employees (referred to as “Jane Does” in the lawsuit) were sexually harassed and discriminated against by their colleagues at Kleiner, an early investor in Google and Amazon.

Kleiner has denied Pao’s allegations and had been seeking to send her sexual discrimination lawsuit to arbitration, which would have kept the kept publicity, and gossip, about the case under wraps. On Friday, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn rejected Kleiner’s arguments that Pao had signed employment agreements binding her to arbitrate any legal disputes. Kleiner has said that it will appeal.

On the New York Times’ Bits blog, David Streitfield discusses some more details of Pao’s lawsuit and, in particular, Book of Longing, a book of poetry by Leonard Cohen that (improbably) is playing a key role in the case. Pao contends that, starting in 2006, investment partner Ajit Nazre sexually harassed her, and that, when she complained to senior partners and human resources executives at the firm, they retaliated by limiting her prospects for career advancement and her income. In the meantime, Nazre was promoted to lead Kleiner Perkins’s green technology unit and given an office across the hall from Pao’s.

Another colleague apparently gave Cohen’s book to Pao:

Ms. Pao suggests in her suit that a senior partner’s gift of “Longing” was equivalent to making a crude proposal or touching in an inappropriate place — way beyond the pale for acceptable office behavior. That senior partner, Randy Komisar, says the truth is more prosaic, according to the legal papers. He and Ms. Pao had a discussion about Mr. Komisar’s Buddhism, and she gave him a statue of Buddha as a holiday gift, the papers say. Mr. Komisar’s wife chose the Cohen book as a return gift. Kleiner notes in the papers that The New York Times called the book “profound.” True. But the same review also called it “steamy.”

What to make of this? Well, if I gave a copy of this book to a co-worker who decided she was offended, there are plenty of lines I would be uncomfortable hearing read to me by someone from the Human Resources Department: “You came to me this morning/ And you handled me like meat/ You’d have to be a man to know/ How good that feels how sweet.”

Based on these details, it seems that Pao’s suit seeks to show that it was not only Nazre who harassed her, but that the very culture of Kleiner was hostile to women and, indeed, contained elements of harassment and discrimination.

As Mayer’s new position and Pao’s lawsuit show, no one should think they can get away with the kind of “puerile behavior” someone at Microsoft was engaging in, when he wrote that string of code.



Photo by the_gaslight_shelter via flickr


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9:25AM PDT on Mar 23, 2013


6:56AM PDT on Mar 11, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

1:36PM PST on Nov 8, 2012

and explanatory text has been narrated was a great wide thanks to everyone who contributed

consistency Elbise Modelleri has been fully explained in the article is quite descriptive writing and sharing parts of your post I want to share all liked it very much thanks

Thank you, that your site is very nice touch topics that up until a date and I congratulate you for the labor of a successful site

9:25AM PDT on Aug 6, 2012


9:25AM PDT on Aug 6, 2012


3:56PM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

Dear author, thanks for the article, also - nice find with that line in VM source code.
One small note: while part of C source code can definitely be called a string (i.e. several letters in a row), as far as C sources go those two are sequences of hex values. Specifically, in this case, those are something like constants. Constant is a value that is associated with some easy to use handle (like MAX_RETRY_ATTEMPTS = 10;). So the "humor" in this case probably is that some MS developer used this integer constant as ID for Linux guest (virtual machine). Why would it matter at all? This "big boobs string" is almost impossible to notice in a binary, contrary to viewing source code. Which means even a hacker reverse-engineering this executable file would most probably miss the hex sequence.

Mit W., if you follow the link in the article on BBC site there is a link to the source: As you can see there it's good old ANSI C, i.e. it's not just a bunch of bytes taken from PE.

12:50AM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

I think if we look hard enough we can find derogatory evidence against women AND men ANYWHERE. I have an idea, LET'S STOP LOOKING and try to get along together. I'm fed up being classed as a trash male just because of a handful of idiot men and a certain class of women that look into everything as being sexist.

Give it up.

6:40PM PDT on Jul 22, 2012


2:37PM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

Oh, Derek, Derek, Derek--you just don't understand...

1:12PM PDT on Jul 22, 2012


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