Ex-Facebook employee sues company for alleged sexual and race discrimination

19 Mar 2015

A former Facebook employee is suing the social network for alleged sex and race discrimination. She is being represented by the same law firm leading the Ellen Pao sex discrimination trial.

Chia Hong worked for Facebook between 2010 and 2013 and it is understood she was eventually dismissed.

In a lawsuit filed this week, Hong said she experienced discrimination, harassment and retaliation before finally being fired.

The case is the latest gender discrimination and harassment case to rock Silicon Valley. In Ellen Pao’s case against her former employer, venture-capital firm Kleiner, Perkins Caufield & Byers, Pao alleges she was denied lucrative senior roles and ultimately pushed out of the company.

In the Hong Vs Facebook case, in 11 charges Hong alleges she was belittled at work, admonished for taking time off to visit her child at school, and ordered to organise parties and serve drinks to male colleagues, a role that wasn’t in her job description.

She also alleges she was dismissed from her job despite receiving a “satisfactory” performance evaluation and was replaced by a less qualified male.

Hong is being represented by the same law firm that is representing Pao, Lawless & Lawless.

Facebook is vehemently denying the allegations.

The case comes at a time when Silicon Valley’s apparent “bro culture” is being scrutinised and the subject of gender discrimination is finally being tackled.

For Facebook, the case goes against the grain. COO Sheryl Sandberg authored the book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead and has been a prominent advocate for women’s empowerment in the workplace.

In a diversity report published in June of last year, Facebook revealed that 77pc of its workforce at management level was male and 74pc were white.

Harassment image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years