Ellen Pao to appeal sexism trial defeat in face of legal costs

2 Jun 2015

Despite now facing legal fees of as much as US$1m, Ellen Pao, a former junior partner of investor Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (KPCB), is to appeal her defeat in the case in which she claimed she was discriminated against because of her gender.

The US legal system ruled in favour of KPCB after Pao had taken them to court claiming the firm blocked her chance at promotion because she was female, and dismissed her from the firm in 2012 after she brought the issue to their attention.

After several months of a trial, Pao lost her case, but KPCB said it would assure that Pao would not have to pay the legal costs of US$1m if she did not appeal, something which she has now rejected, according to the BBC.

Pao, who is currently Reddit’s interim chief executive, is looking for US$16m in lost salary as a result of the dismissal and court case following her official notice of appeal to the courts based in San Francisco.

Harmed Pao’s career prospects

In response to the appeal, spokesperson for KPCB, Christina Lee, said: “A 12-member jury found decisively in favour of KPCB on all four claims.

“We remain committed to gender diversity in the workplace and believe that women in technology would be best served by focusing on this issue outside of continued litigation.”

Discussing her recent experiences at a conference, Pao said that the whole experience of her case being so well documented and the criticisms the defendants are putting forward has done little for her job prospects.

“I had a hard time getting a job. It’s out there — I’m not that likeable and I’m a poor performer. There were people who wouldn’t talk to me,” she said.

Ellen Pao image via Christopher Michel/Flickr


Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic