Ellen Pao has lost her discrimination case against former employer, venture firm Kleiner, Caufield, Perkins & Byers.
The jury said that Pao’s gender was NOT a motivating reason for her not being promoted to general or senior partner. It was not a substantial reason for terminating her employment either, according to the jury.
In a second claim, the jury found that various conversations Pao had with Kleiner about her status there, and her filing this claim, were NOT a substantial reason Kleiner terminated her employment.
In other words, the jury found against Pao on all claims.
Pao sued the firm for $US16 million in 2012 for lost wages and other opportunity, claiming that the firm denied her promotions and other opportunities because she was a woman. The suit went to trial last month.
Over the last two weeks, Pao and her lawyers tried to paint a picture of a “men’s club” workplace, pointing to incidents like an alleged conversation about the Playboy Mansion and porn stars on a business trip.
In her own testimony, she said she was suing the firm because “I wanted to make sure my story was told.”
Kleiner’s lawyers did everything they could to call Pao’s testimony into question, and instead portrayed her as difficult to get along with and not particularly qualified for a promotion.
In closing arguments, Kleiner lawyer Lynne Hermle basically accused her of filing the suit only for the money, saying Pao “wanted a huge payout for Team Ellen.”
Along the way, a lot of minute details of daily life at a VC firm were discussed, including the revelation that senior partners can make more than $US1 million a year just in salary. There were also lots of discussions about a seating chart at an off-site meeting where Pao and another woman were asked to sit in back on one day, a ski trip where Pao wasn’t invited, and the ins and outs of her consensual relationship with Ajit Nazre, a male partner who was fired in 2011 after an internal investigation found that he harassed another female partner, Trae Vassallo.
Apparently, the jury found Kleiner’s version of events more compelling than Pao’s.
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