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Ellen Pao Owns the Room (techcrunch.com)
215 points by MilnerRoute on Mar 10, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 198 comments

She said that Lane [her and Nazre's supervisor] had responded not with action on the HR front, but by telling the story of how he had met his second wife while they were both working at Oracle. He had been married to his first wife at the time. Lane said that he had gone on to have a wonderful life with his former colleague — and that, perhaps, Pao could have that with Nazre.

But, Pao said, Lane added that she and Nazre likely wouldn’t be able to work together. When Lane became involved with his current wife at Oracle, his wife had to quit. Pao said this implied that Lane was suggesting that she would have to leave Kleiner, too.

“Did you tell Mr. Lane that you were interested in having a serious relationship with Mr. Nazre?” Lawless asked.

“Absolutely not,” Pao said.

Lane then suggested that she and Nazre have a one-on-one lunch to try and figure out how to work things out.

(For his part, Lane said in his testimony last week that he only relayed this story to show how he understood how complicated workplace relationships could be.)

This is vivid, credible, and damning, given that the anecdote about Lane's wife is, after his own testimony, an established fact of the case, as is apparently Pao's unwillingness to continue a personal relationship with Nazre, which is documented in emails.

There are galactic-scale legal resources allocated to both sides of this controversy, so who knows where this will go next. But in the annals of "how not to respond to a personnel concern", this has to be right up there.

I feel like there is some background context people are ignoring in replying to your comment. There are studies showing that men project the characteristics of their wives onto their women colleagues.[1] Combine that with the fact that until recently, the expectation was that even women who worked would drop out once they got married because their ambition should be in the home, and their husband's career ambition is more important. That's the background against which a reasonable woman would judge Mr. Lane's story.

If my wife's boss had told her this story, she'd have come home with exactly the impression Ms. Pao did. Indeed, when we were in grad school something very similar happened. She went to a career counselor to talk about job searching, and she remarked that "oh at least your boyfriend (me) has a good job lined up." As someone in a relative position of power, there is little more you can do to make an ambitious woman feel like shit than remind her that society values her husband/boyfriend's ambition much more highly than hers.

[1] This may be true for both genders.

I'm interested in these studies, I think they might be useful to me in a professional context. Do you mind linking me ? Thanks

Edit/Update: I apologize, I misread the paper. There are 5 different studies/experiments of varying quality. I'm going to read this paper more closely to look at the the participates of all five. I left the unedited comments below.

First I like to say the paper's statistics and analysis based on the data they use seem pretty good to me. But . . . However I find the paper disappointing personally. I'm not sure how much information is useful to me since the data they use is survey results from 1996, I don't think that's a good indicator of behavior in 2015, as women have been in the workplace for nearly 20 years since then(1996).

edit: I'm not sure if I read it right, but here is what that paper says :

"We relied upon data for the year 1996, a year that contained survey items related to our predictor and criterion variables. Specifically, we included only heterosexual, married men in our sample because we were interested in the association between heterosexual marriage structures and men’s attitudes toward working women. Our final sample size consisted of 282 men who were married and employed full time. "

> I don't think that's a good indicator of behavior in 2015, as women have been in the workplace for nearly 20 years since then(1996).

Women had been in the workplace for many decades before then, so while things may have changed since then to some degree, I wouldn't assume that it is the case due to time.

OTOH, as the quote you supply indicates, the study was limited to heterosexual married men, which may be a smaller share of all men in the workplace now, so even if the effect observed has not changed, its workplace significance may have.

Be interesting to do a followup that included people in committed relationships of different legal statuses, different genders, and different orientations and see whether the effect is still visible and how it relates to different axes of variation.

>Women had been in the workplace for many decades before then, so while things may have changed since then to some degree, I wouldn't assume that it is the case due to time.

I agree with you its not just time changing things, but the fact the culture changes with time. While we can debate what parts of the culture changed, its very clear the culture has changed.

20 years is enough for a new generation of men and women to grow up under a different culture. It also may be enough time to allow people to get used to new normal and adjust their behavior.

That is my reasoning for my belief to doubt the validity of that data in a 2015 context and still believing it's probably accurate in a 1996 context. If we could get actual data from 2015, I'd update my beliefs.

Otherwise I think it's wiser to remain skeptical of that data in a modern context.

Edit/Update: Sorry for being dumb. I didn't realize they had split the the methods across surveys.

It seems survey 5 supports my thoughts. It really deals with changes in age groups. The paper says: "the Wald criterion demonstrated that only age made a significant contribution to predicting if men were in modern marriages, with younger men more likely to marry working women." In figure 2, they mention men in modern marriages, had positive reception to women in the workforce.

I think its fair to say the younger generation of men is fine with women in the workplace.

The paper relies on five studies. One with data from 1996, another from 2001, two conducted contemporaneously with the paper, and one longitudinal study using early-1990's UK data.

Also, female labor force participation rate is pretty much the same as it was in 1990.

I apologize, I misread the paper. Also Thanks for the correction and the paper. I really appreciate it!

I think you can only deem testimony 'plausible', but not yet "credible and damning", if the opposing counsel and witnesses haven't addressed it yet. Often, people who are each individually credible-seeming provide contradictory accounts.

Here's Re/code's report on the cross-examination, which seems to identify a number of contradictions in Pao's accounts over time:


Knowing they were in the midst of an on-again off-again relationship, Lane may have had a reasonable assumption that there was still an intention to continue the relationship, without Pao explicitly stating that she was interested in a serious relationship. At this point, the fewer conclusions we all jump to the better.

If someone in a relationship goes to their corporate HR manager for relationship assistance, I don't think your assumption is reasonable at all!

If they were a marriage counselor, or a close friend, sure, but somehow I think nobody willing to salvage a personal relationship is going to bring it to their office's attention for assistance...

Oh, that depends on framing. In some situations employees are asked explicitly to approach HR at the emergence of a relationship in order to prevent conflict of interest.

That would indicate the presence of some kind of HR policy. Something that appears to be lacking in this case.

>If someone in a relationship goes to their corporate HR manager for relationship assistance,

frequent practice back in USSR. To the HR of the factory/institution, to the local Party committee, etc... :)

Not sure why you got downvoted: I think your anecdote is pretty interesting to contrast cultural differences! :)

Lane may have had a reasonable assumption

the fewer conclusions we all jump to the better

So it's OK for Lane to make assumptions about Pao, but we must be very careful not to make assumptions about Lane?

I think this is a form of "privilege"?

Yes, playing armchair jury is different from being a direct participant in events.

But they weren't in an on-again off-again relationship.

The was no "again".

It was on, she found he lied, and the it was off "with extreme prejudice" as the old Unix manuals used to say.

The 'on and off again' quote was from Pao, from the article:

> Pao said that once Nazre had told her that he and his wife had indeed separated, they started “seeing each other” in an “off-and-on relationship that lasted between five and six months.”

The conversation with Lane was when the relationship was over. On-again, off-again may indeed have a terminal date.

Well, I think asking people to refrain from passing harsh judgments is too much to ask even of the educated and erudite set.

If a Michael Arrington - a major power broker in the Valley , by any measure of the use of the term - was not immune to this rush to judgment in the Jenn Allen case [1], I guess expecting the innocent-until-proven-otherwise rationale to be applied to some small-fry immigrant is too much to ask.


Fifteen Months Later


Letter To Jennifer Allen Regarding False and Defamatory Statements


How exactly are you reading this as "damning and credible"? Whether or not Lane was suggesting that she would be the one who would have to leave instead of Nazre hinges on Pao's reading of the situation being correct: "Pao said this implied that Lane was suggesting that she would have to leave Kleiner, too." Apparently Lane did not think so: "Lane said in his testimony last week that he only relayed this story to show how he understood how complicated workplace relationships could be."

Given that Lane and Nazre were already married when commencing relationships with other women whom they met in the workplace, and given that Lane's second wife was the one to relinquish her job, it's not hard to see how Pao would draw a similar inference. Of course, this is on top of the inappropriateness of responding to a HR complaint with rose-tinted anecdotes.

EDIT to add the workplace parameter for clarity.

Wouldn't a much more obvious reason that Lane's wife was the one to quit her job at Oracle be that he was a big star at Oracle, likely earning much more than his administrative assistant wife or that they decided to have kids, which causes women to drop out of workplace more often than men? Pao and Nazre were both partners. Instead, you're saying that Lane likely came up with some convoluted rules that the person who was already married will stay at the company, while the other person won't and he was trying to convey them to Pao using his own experiences 20 years ago at a different company as an example?

It's not convoluted at all; it's the simplest structure that comes out of his anecdote. He was asked a question about the appropriateness of personal relationships in the workplace.

He could have addressed that without ever mentioning that his wife had quit working at Oracle; bringing that fact in created an inference, even if not intentional, that one of Pao or Nazre would have to go, or he could have added that the situations were in fact totally different.

If it's so simple, then please explain why it's not arbitrary that the previously married person gets to keep his/her job when a new relationship forms instead of the previously single person? And how is that simpler than my potential explanations (money and women raising kids) which are happening in practice all the time?

Sure, he shouldn't have brought it up, I don't think anybody argues that it was a smart thing to do.

This would be a reasonable question if we lived in a gender-neutral society rather than one that institutionalized discrimination for most of its history. I'm not saying we should assume the worst about what Lane meant, but that we should not be surprised that such a possible construal would weigh heavily on Pao's mind, becuase of the scial context within which it takes place.

On a side note, Lane is ?20 years older than Pao; I'm surprised he hadn't developed the emotional intelligence to ensure that they were both on the same page when she left his office. I mean, when people discuss things like intimate relationships, there's often a lot left unsaid so it's important to solicit feedback on whether your advice is actually responsive to the concerns that the colleague came in the door with.

For whatever reason the implication is that "one of them must quit". It's not clear why that is necessary beside (and this is a big one) it being an HR issue, which implies that people cannot operate within proscribed behavior at a workplace --which to me seems goes against people's right to work, but given this implication (where one of the couple must quit) a rational couple would choose for the one with more earning potential to stay and the one with less earning potential to leave. But that also assumes that the one staying would not have greater earning potential elsewhere.

"Pao and Nazre were both partners."

This glosses over a significant problem. Partners are stratified like professors at univesrity.

The issue about resolving any conflict by the junior-status person taking up with a new employer is not controversial. Its basically common practice and common sense.

So there is no real crux to this other than someone stating the obvious.

The logic is the same if the senior person is of either sex. Once you cross the line of having a marriage you have a legal obligation to that person that can create a conflict of interest. You also have a lack-of-diversity in income that could cause a cascading financial issue if that conflict of interest ever materialized in an adverse way.

So, by resignation and re-employment with anotehr firm you eliminate the conflict and diversify the income base. You do this whist protecting the largest income stream with the lowest risk strategy (doing nothing) and by taking the risk (of change/finding a new job) with the smaller (and by implication less valuable) revenue stream.

Again, has nothing to do with sexism. The roles could easily be reversed and the logic would still be the same.

From what I read, Nazre was also a junior partner at Kleiner.

My point is simply that the title "partner" in no way confers level playing field (as the earlier commenter implied).

Junior partner is like "associate", its almost meaningless if you are relying on that solely for assement long term career prospects (or whatever).

(eg, in a law firm, associate pay varies widely...even with the same title...promotion track of any particular associate is completely non-transpaternt... etc)

By any interpretation, responding to a complaint that she was being retaliated against and a request for clearer HR policies regarding this with a suggestion that she and the man who was retaliating against her could have a good life though they probably wouldn't be able to work together...well that's damning enough. You don't need to suss out whether he was actually suggesting she or he quit for this to be the case.

EXACTLY. The _only_ appropriate response to an employee approaching you with a harassment complaint and asking for HR intervention would be to get a representative (sounds like they didnt have one) and a lawyer involved immediately. Followed by asking if she needs anything to continue working while feeling safe.

What in the world was going through this guy's head?

But she did not complain about harassment at that time. Based on Techcrunch's article, she was complaining about Nazre making her work more difficult by cutting her out of key work discussions and taking her out of e-mail threads.

How is that not harassment?

You just detailed the harassment.

And why was Nazre doing that?

They were in love/dating/having sex, then they broke up. It's pretty easy to see why he was upset.

According to the saying, "don't shit where you eat", both of them could have known better before starting their relationship.

How about you tell me if you have a point to make?

You're basing your "damning enough" opinion on Pao's statements when questioned by her own attorney. But Lane's testimony was: "I thought that it should be investigated, I thought that it should be responded to, but that it was up to her," which while not great, seems quite less damning. The grandparent also called it "credible," however when Pao was cross-examined about whether she asked if Kleiner maintained a policy that prohibited discrimination or harassment, she said "yes" on the stand and "no" in deposition, making her seem less than credible regarding asking for clearer HR policies in this incident.

The damning part isn't so much what is there as what isn't. The only appropriate response from a manager after being told by an employee about possible sexual harassment is to look into the facts and take action to correct the situation or fire the offender as the facts warrant.

At that time she was complaining about a coworker making her work "more difficult" after their relationship ended. Do you believe this falls under sexual harassment?

Yes, that is pretty much a textbook legal definition of sexual harassment. A relationship was no longer welcome and as a result one individual did things that interfered with the job performance of the other. The fact that they had a prior relationship doesn't excuse the behavior.


Then please point me to the part of this reference that applies. It states that "unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when..." Those are not actions about which Pao complained to Lane.

To expand your quote a little:

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when

1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment,

2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individuals, or

3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

Pao discontinued the relationship, then Nazre started cutting her out of work. It's pretty easy to see a case that submitting to the sexual relationship was implicitly a term of her employment in the same role, or that after the relationship was discontinued her working environment became hostile.

Your conflating standard "harrassment" with "sexual harassmenet" they are not at all the same thing.

Sexual harassment requires (by the definition you cite) things of a a sexual nature to be integral to the harassment.

But that's not the same thing as assigning somebody busy work or whatever. That's just being an a$$hat of a colleague.

Per your definition:

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment ===when===

-submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment,

-submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individuals, or

-such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. (29 C.F.R. § 1604.11 [1980])

Lots of people are jerks at work, and lots of people are jerks to their ex, but neither are per-se sexual harassment under the third bullet point.

I know this is just one side of the story ... but if these facts are even remotely true, Kleiner is really a terrible place for women.

This married dude just harassing co-workers left and right. How gross.

Not inviting women partners to events. WTF?

Who are these guys? Is this 2015?

This guys webpage is almost a bigger crime than his alleged sexual misbehavior: http://www.ajitnazre.com/

> This married dude just harassing co-workers left and right. How gross.

I am little surprised that a VC is not firing people for doing this. Just strikes me as a huge liability and a great way to drive talent out of the shop.

Apparently he was fired, but not for his conduct with Pao, but for sexually harassing another female partner.

As I follow it on my scorecard, he got promoted to senior partner after this, and after the issue with the other partner. Then, when the lawsuit was filed and he was going to come under public scrutiny for a pattern of problems, he got fired.

The ol' "once is an accident, twice is a pattern" principle.

The irony is that Kleiner is one of the progressive firms. Sequoia doesn't even have female general partners.

They have an Asian partner in Alfred Lin and Middle Eastern partner in Omar Hamoui. Both are racial minorities. That has to count for something in the realm of diversity as racial and ethnic minorities face discrimination and under-representation in many executive committees.

Neither of those are cultures noted for their sensitivity to women.


> Why is the number of vaginas in a room the measure of how progressive a firm is?

It isn't. However, when the count is 0, it is a pretty good indication of a _lack_ of progressiveness.

That depends incredibly heavily on circumstances.

I've yet to see the research which indicates that we should see an even mix of men and women at the top of social structures when we already admit a difference in terms of both physical ability (eg, why we separate sports) and behaviors (eg, men tend to be more risk taking). For that matter, many distributions that we see which have no obvious component have different distributions between the two genders. For example, women often average a bit higher, but have fewer outliers (in both directions) when scored on intelligence.

I don't believe that there is no gender based component to behaviors (ie, that there isn't a gender based distinction in the distribution of normal behaviors for the two genders), and even a very slight distinction would become significant after rounds of selecting the outlier candidate over and over for promotion.

In much the same way that we see a dominance of men in athletic events, we might be seeing that in corporate leadership positions.

> I've yet to see the research which indicates that we should see an even mix of men and women at the top of social structures

The reason that we want to see this is that we have thousands of years of evidence that when group A has more power than group B it tends to end really badly for group B. See: slavery, capitalism, the patriarchy, colonialism... etc.

> admit a difference in terms of both physical ability (eg, why we separate sports)

That's spurious. Physical ability is not at all important for competency in most of the high paying and powerful roles of society. If physical ability were important then the CEOs, bankers and politicians of the world would be young men rather than old white men.

> and behaviors (eg, men tend to be more risk taking)

It's very hard to prove that different behaviours between the genders are a result of biochemistry (that we can't control) as opposed to social conditioning (that we can control). Most of the behaviours that people think of as "feminine" or "masculine" are learned rather than innate. One example (competitiveness) is outlined in this Freakonomics podcast: http://freakonomics.com/2013/10/09/what-can-a-ball-and-a-buc...

But even if we consider it wrong that "society" conditions men and women to behave differently, there's nothing wrong with companies promoting more people that are already more aggressive, which turns out to be men more often. I think it's the purpose of the companies to earn money, not to change the society; actually, I actively don't want them to influence the society too much (their influences are too powerful already), except through advancing the technology (again, within the frameworks that the civil society sets up).

How about the fact, though, that more conservative financial practices often result in better long-term results for established firms? If you're in a startup that you don't mind blowing up or running into the ground, promote the more aggressive, but if you want to continue an established business, that's the wrong strategy.

For links to some investment studies, see http://www.thestreet.com/story/13018257/1/who-had-bigger-inv... , http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/behavioral-economics-...

Talking money is definitely better than other types of persuasion, especially when it comes to companies. Having said that, I wouldn't put too much confidence in the articles you posted; the effects in the first one are tiny, and for one year only, and the beginning of the second one is ripe with sexist stereotypes (I didn't bother to read the whole one). Also, as with all economic/psychological research, the results are to be trusted only if they can be demonstrated over a very long period of time, by multiple researchers (and even then it's not of equal validity as a controlled scientific experiment). Having said that, I don't necessarily reject your hypothesis; I'm sure that people will be putting money to it, and if it's true, someone will be reaping profit.

You are talking about statistical measures here, yet seem blind to the underlying principle that whatever the statistical measure, there are more than enough outliers for a count of 0 ought to be surprising, particularly in an area like this where any relevant gender variances are so dwarfed by individual variations.

I doubt that scientifically reputable research into this would is possible. How would you design the study? Start a bunch of successful large corporations then randomly staff their executive positions with different mixtures of men and women, and study the effects on society at large for 30 years?

I feel like that's a very simplistic way of evaluating progressiveness.

A board of a well known tech company is composed of 3 women, and 6 men. By your metric, that's progressiveness. After all, a third are women. Greater than 0.

Now what if all of them are white. Is that progressive when the population of the U.S. also includes Hispanics, Asians (who make up a sizable % of the tech industry), and Blacks but the board contains none? As a visible minority, I say yes, because women are under-represented and it's fine if sometimes other ethnicities aren't represented.

So by one metric it's not progressive/diverse, but by another it is.

Likewise, if a group happens to be all male but contains visible minorities, is that not an example of being progressive? It's not as if North America is completely color blind and minorities don't endure exclusion from a variety of groups ranging from executive positions to judicial positions to political representation in North America. Being white and male in North America carries a privilege very unlike being Black/Asian/Hispanic and male.

And so yes, I sound like a broken record on this thread but it irks me when people only judge by gender, when ethnicity is a consideration here in the U.S. And when I look at the partners, they have some visible minorities.

But most importantly, when I read their bios, they are clearly very qualified.

> I feel like that's a very simplistic way of evaluating progressiveness.

It is incredibly simplistic.

> A board of a well known tech company is composed of 3 women, and 6 men. By your metric, that's progressiveness.

No it is not. I made no assertions about that context. My assertion was that when there are NO women in the room, that is an indication of a _lack_ of progressiveness. Even that has some obvious caveats, as for small numbers of people (like say... 1), it wouldn't mean anything... but my assertion already concedes that you could have half or more than half the room be made up of women and still not be at all progressive.

well progressiveness isn't a binary thing, and there's a lot of angles upon which to be progressive. It's possible to be progressive among some angles and not among others.

Just because you aren't racist doesn't give you the right to be sexist (being blunt but the idea is there).

It's somewhat alarming that this comment wouldn't be out of place fifty years ago.


Not every point deserves a response, especially not those that refer to women as "vaginas."

Agreed. It's strange. It doesn't take into account merit of the selections nor the additional way of measuring progressiveness in racial diversity which, as I outline in another post, it has at least some. It's just blindly assumes the worst based on one metric.

It is creepy but it IS just one side of the story. It seems premature to condem then until hearing all the info.

Well Lane did confirm his silly anecdote about his ex wife. That was a very inappropriate response to an employee reaching out to him about sexual harassment. He should have hired an HR consultant immediately.

Additionally Nazre has a history of sexually harassing female coworkers so at this point it's looking pretty cut and dry.

I stumbled across his personal website too. My take on it is that he's trying to spin up some SEO to win back his name on Google. Rough.

It's a little too "malkovich malkovich malkovich malkovich malkovich"

This cannot seriously be this Nazre's own website -- can it?!

CTRL + F "Ajit Nazre" shows 42 results on his website.

This dude really likes his name.

that webpage looks autogenerated

> This married dude just harassing co-workers left and right. How gross.

then dating the guy after he claims his marriage fell apart.... how dumb is that?

i'm not going to defend his behaviour or any of the other clearly bullshit sexism here, but in the case of this guy misbehaving it is in a very large part enabled by women in a combination of not standing up for themselves and sleeping with a jerk.

you can't just ask everyone around you to stop this stuff if you are actively encouraging it yourself. it has to work both ways.

if he had no success he would learn from the constant rejection. a big problem is that for men, acceptance is so rare that one instance of sex is enough to validate the entire path that lead to it. so they will continue the same behaviour if it leads to any success whatsoever...

so i clearly missed the mark here. does anyone care to educate me or just down vote without comment?

(i'm being serious. i can't learn without feedback, and clearly i am wrong, i just have no idea why)

You're getting downvoted because you're suggesting that women "enabled" and "actively encouraged" this man's behavior. In doing so, you're effectively shifting responsibility for this man's behavior onto other people.

Hindsight is often blinding. It's easy to read this article and say that if Pao had simply chosen not to date him then none of this would've happened. I think that criticism lacks perspective. Should she have chosen to work at a different firm? That would also have avoided this situation.

People's decisions are based on the information available to them at the time, including both their assumptions about the world and their past experiences. If their assumptions turn out to be wrong[0] or they lack a previous negative experience[1] to inform them they may well make a decision that others later point at and say was ill-advised. It's crucial to understand that even if the decision was a poor one, more often than not the person had no way of knowing that at the time.

[0] For instance, "partners at Kleiner-Perkins will act professionally in the workplace, regardless of personal misgivings"

[1] One which Pao has now gained w.r.t. office romances.

> clearly i am wrong, i just have no idea why

This is the line that prompted me to respond to your post. I disagree with you, and I have explained why above. I do not like this attitude, though - just because others disagree with you does not mean you are wrong. It is important not to discount your own opinion, especially on the Internet. Read what others have said in this thread, think critically about their views as well as your own and see where you end up.

> if Pao had simply chosen not to date him then none of this would've happened.

Or he would have not taken no for an answer and kept trying.That last is strongly suggested by the fact that he came on to her, got told "no, you are married", made up this whole elaborate lie of a separation, got told "no, you should reconcile", and then kept the lie rolling long enough that Ms Pao figured he was separated for real. This guy is as persistent as Pepe le Pew.

> Read what others have said in this thread, think critically about their views as well as your own and see where you end up.

thanks for the honest reply. you offer a reasonable assessment, as much as i disagree that victim blaming is universally wrong.

this man is responsible for his own actions, and that the bulk of the accusations here are serious regardless as to that behaviour.

however, i think its damaging to the cause of preventing sexual harassment in the workplace if women do not consistently treat all men as equal in this regard - regardless as to how attractive they find them at the time (and e.g. coupled with how married they are)... it seems to me that it makes it impossible to set objective standards.

Your downvotes are probably because of the blaming-the-victim section:

>>in the case of this guy misbehaving it is in a very large part enabled by women in a combination of not standing up for themselves and sleeping with a jerk. you can't just ask everyone around you to stop this stuff if you are actively encouraging it yourself. it has to work both ways.

Nazre isn't being criticized for his consensual relationship with Pao. Its for his reaction to her ending it, as well as non consensual harrassment of other employees.

Well, he's also being criticized for lying about his marriage being over so that Pao would sleep with him.

right, but i think he deserved criticism from the moment he began pursuing her, and for his dogged persistence. the fact that he managed to end up in a relationship at all muddies the waters considerably imo, and makes it difficult to point at this as an example of how not behave in the work environment.

Why didn't anyone link to this LNKD profile?


or this


Same person right?

  This married dude just harassing co-workers left and right.
  How gross.
The way you phrase your argument seems to paint your intentions, less than objective.

Workplace affairs aside, what is the indubitable proof to suggest that these things transpired owing to malice, on his part?

Has he testified, yet?

This reminds me of the Michael Arrington case [1], of people rushing to judgments.




Because there may be some confusion here about what HR does, I'll pick one of the less-salacious episodes, the RPX board seat issue, to illustrate how it would play out at an organization which had a competent HR department.

First off, understand that discrimination based on sex or pregnancy is illegal in the United States. So if Ellen Pao walked into our hypothetical competent HR department and said that she had reason to believe that she's being discriminated against, HR would have cleared somebody's schedule to work with Ellen on this. It's serious shit, in other words.

HR would ask Ellen for everything on her side of the story (essentially the same stuff that's coming out in court now), and then draft up a brief which describes all the evidence (using the term "evidence" loosely here because this is just Ellen's side for now). HR would then take this file to the person who is allegedly discriminating against Ellen (I think it would be John Doerr in this case) and say, "I need your undivided attention on this, this is a serious matter" and then get John's side of the story.

After that, each situation is different, but it's pretty obvious to me that in the RPX case, HR would say to John "Look, it appears that Ellen did much more work on this than Randy so you need to think about why he got the board seat over her."

In most workplaces, at this point John would look over the documentation and realize that he probably DID discriminate against her and, most importantly, would be aghast at what he'd done. So then HR would work with both Ellen and John to develop a solution, which would probably include John apologizing to Ellen for undervaluing her contribution and a promise that he'll do better in the future. End Scene.

So in this scenario, not only does HR prevent a lawsuit from happening but also the company gets to keep a valued employee who can keep adding to the bottom line while at the same time educating her superior to keep better track of the contributions of all employees regardless of their race, sex, or background.

This is not what HR does. HR is there to present compliance while allowing the company to do what it wants anyway. Randy would still have got the seat, but competent HR would most likely have ensured an alternative reason be presented.

This is an idealized scenario for HR involvement. It would be wonderful if HR were typically this ethical. At many companies, however, HR's primary goal in a situation like the one you describe would be to produce a paper trail that would enable firing the complaining employee without creating a problem for the complained-about executive. In general one is well-advised to speak to an attorney before going to HR for anything other than benefits questions.

    > the firm was not fastidious about certain key aspects of 
    > HR and employment policy
HR is an expensive luxury, until it's not, and your dirty laundry is all over TechCrunch. c.f. Github.

Yeah, because KPC, that poor startup, really couldn't afford proper HR. :P

Costs aren't always in straight dollars. Many people would consider HR to have a bureaucracy and agility cost far beyond the amount it costs to hire an HR staffer.

Costs aren't always in straight dollars. Many people would consider HR to have a bureaucracy and agility cost far beyond the amount it costs to hire an HR staffer.

Only "bad HR" would have that side effect. Good HR is a wonderful, wonderful thing. I've seen both sides. Btw, good HR isn't just about the HR people. It's about good HR people and a CEO/COO that wants them to succeed.

Sexual harassment investigations interrupting business?! We don't have time for that! /s

Or just stop hiring assholes

If only LinkedIn had a radiobutton for that, or show an option to 'endorse' someone as an asshole...

But, seriously, how do you, or anyone, actually do it? Humans are NP-hard in that regard. You will most likely only know a potato is hot once you are holding it in your hand. By then, it's already too late.

why not?

i wish facebook had a 'dislike' button too, and twitter a public ignore count with how many people chose to ignore a stream...

you can't learn with only positive feedback (assuming your brain is mostly neural network) we need the negative too. its a shame our current society is so stuck on protecting people from criticism...

Negative feedback on the internet is generally pretty disastrous.

People like to jump on the bandwagon when someone "evil" is identified, based sometimes on the flimsiest of evidence. Then, surprise -- if you have millions of "racist-hating" people online who think they've found a racist (or whatever), some of them will retaliate in truly vile ways.

Imagine for a moment that your friend plays a practical joke on you, and posts a stupid sexist comment on twitter as you. And suddenly your employer is getting a dozen calls a minute demanding you be fired, and your home address and yearbook photos and who knows what else are collected and published online. And... it's hard to know when it would stop, but "justice" on the internet is a very, very poor tool at present.

Even at low-scale: just imagine how the typical group of "popular" girls in middle school might decide to use a Facebook "Dislike" button against this week's chosen unpopular girl.

you make some interesting points. thanks for the thoughtful reply. :)

One mystery to me is that I'm sure KPC has a general counsel, so I don't know why their on-staff lawyers weren't sounding the alarm bell about the lack of a competent HR department.

Lawyers primarily highlight risks. It is easy to ignore them if you're convinced "it couldn't happen here (tm)".

"What do we need HR for? We're all adults here"...

You can count me as one. I work for a very large telecom in which management has basically surrendered control to HR and IT Security. Between the two our operations are slowly grinding to a halt.

People say they don't have time to put on seatbelts neither.

“It was said that if there were women there, that the conversation would be tempered, and it was because women kill the buzz”

What alternate planet are these guys living on? A mixed crowd is always more interesting in my book, that goes for personal and professional get-togethers.

"What alternate planet are these guys living on?"

And do they think that they're going to have a meeting with the former Vice President of the United States and he's not going to notice that there's no women in the room and not think that something's amiss?

I've been in meet-and-greet style meetings with VPOTUS-level U.S. government officials and outside Silicon Valley it's exactly the opposite: we make sure that there's a representative sample of our employees and not just a bunch of senior guys.

FWIW women too like single sex gatherings.

Source: work in hospitality and get request for "no male servers" or specific female hosts.

It seems in the OP that it's a social gathering??

There's nothing wrong with a girls or guys night out. When it's a work-related function that's quite a different story.

> When it's a work-related function //

Was it? It wasn't clear but seemed like it wasn't any more work-related than work being the way the attendees met? Hence the question in my comment.

If it's work sponsored (your work is paying for attendance) then you'd be absolutely right. But if it's just a hen-do for work colleagues then men wouldn't have a right to be there by virtue of employment; and vice-versa of course.

Basically the entire business culture of the 80s and before was horrifically offensive to women. Anyone that wants to cling onto that will definitely have to temper their behavior around women today.

"Yeah, we're going to talk about how to do business successfully, but we don't want to include any women because our success doesn't depend in any way on half the planet."

Agreed. Maybe they have organised a poker night, ordered pizza in, and maybe catch the football game on the TV later on. <end sarcasm>

I've been in meetings and cultures years before where your attitude (which I share) was not the prevailing atmosphere. In those places, I could imagine women feeling like a hen in a fox's den.

I feel the same way, but I often have encountered women only spaces quite a bit. Some of my friends like them, and call them safe spaces.

I'm not defending the practice, but I can see how it's not that strange that a gender would feel safer or at ease in a gender exclusive setting.

The same alternate planet where parents refuse to have children in preschools that got male teachers, as they are scared that the male teachers will be pedophiles.

Some people do not (but should) think rational when dealing with the subject of gender diversity.

More interesting doesn't necessarily mean more productive.

Believe it or not, sometimes people like going out and not being constantly on guard censoring themselves. Your solution seems to be that everyone must be included at all times and the conversation reduced to the lowest common denominator.

Who are these people? Why do they get all the money from wall street and then get to go around acting like they're gods? A monkey could have done a good job of throwing money around Sillicon Valley and picking a bunch of winners over the last 10 years. Why hire these prima donnas to do it? Wall Street is a corrupt joke.

> Who are these people?

Ellen Pao, Harvard MBA. Job history was corporate attorney, other non-technical jobs.

Ajit Nazre, Michigan Tech PHD. Job history unclear. Google hits on him mostly indicate a skeezy character. If the BI article is credible, most startups including the ones in India have dropped him like a rock after the lawsuit came out.

> Why do they get all the money?

Good question. Most engineers fail to realize how critical all of them are. They fail to demand fair compensation for their time. Instead they treat pats-on-the-back, a beer bust, maybe a gifted $10 ticket to see a scifi movie as major rewards while their management takes the bulk of the compensation pie.

Ajit Nazre does not have a PhD from Michigan Tech, only a Masters.

He has a PhD from Technische Universität Hannover and an MBA from Harvard.

Ellen Pao has a JD from Harvard Law School in addition to her MBA.

She also has an electrical engineering degree from Princeton.

I am curious what possible justification there could be for downvoting the above comment. Is the EE degree in question?

I mentioned it specifically because the grandparent post emphasized her "non-technical" otherness.

A lot of the money from these investors didn't come from Wall St., but from past successful Silicon Valley tech companies.

Well actually the main sources of venture funds are similar to where wall-street goes for it's investment funds. Institutions (pension funds, state and national level reserve funds etc), wealthy individuals, cash reserves from large companies etc.

Maybe because their investors are Wall Street and other large financial players and they look at them and say "hey, you're just like me! I like me!"

Beautifully said :)

Admittedly I'm not unbiased, having done work for KPCB (although I know nothing about this case). However, I am extremely disappointed reading the comments in this thread and in the media. People seem ready to jump to conclusions and crucify having only heard one side of the story, I suppose that makes for great stories in the media, but why not let the court case play out and hear both sides first?

that certainly seems sensible on the surface, but I have to say, even if every single thing Pao said is made up, the fact that they held an dinner party with Vice President of the United States as the guest of honor and did not invite a single female partner is pretty hard to explain in any sort of reasonable fashion

Aha, see here you have extrapolated from the framing in the media headlines (and the plaintiff), without actually looking at any context. So to look at what you just said and present it differently: (note: I'm not coming down on either side of this, just presenting the other side, see [1])

1. He was not the Vice President of the United States then. He is (and was then) a KPCB partner.

2. He was not the guest of honor, this was a dinner party at his apartment for the 10 people that could fit. Apparently he is fond of hosting dinners there and does many of them. At this event there were only two KPCB partners.

Is it a stretch to imagine that two out of all the partners at KPCB for this particular dinner might not include a female partner?

Also in Chien's testimony [2]:

Chien called the allegations in Pao’s lawsuit — including that he had declined to invite women to the Al Gore dinner because women “kill the buzz” — “hurtful and untrue,” and denied saying anything like that. Kleiner’s attorneys also showed multiple emails where Chien invited Pao to join meetings and business discussions she was interested in.

[1] http://www.law360.com/articles/625265/kleiner-partner-held-a...

[2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenhuet/2015/02/25/kleiner-per...

You must be new here. The presumption of innocence died a long time ago. Any accusations made publicly about these sorts of issues are prima facie true.

How on earth did this make it to trial? Is Kleiner Perkins crazy, or is Ellen Pao making a point?

They were probably trying to play chicken with Ellen and hope that she would be scared off by having to testify about her relationships, etc. in a trial. However it seems like they played right into what she wants and now all their dirty laundry is being aired in public.

I agree, I am surprised they didn't quietly settle. The all male dinner party with Al Gore alone is pretty damning, in my opinion.

Perhaps the tone-deafness that led to ignoring the original issues also applies to taking a lawsuit seriously.

Isn't this just office politics? It happens everywhere. It's not always "because you're a woman" but there are always people who dislike others and make it hard to do their job, don't invite them to work dinners, etc. That's bad but it's equally bad for people everywhere. And it's legal.

I think the point of the trial is to determine if what happened to Pao is "because she's a woman". If there's enough evidence for that claim, then there's a legal basis for recourse.

If we could sweep any exclusionary behavior under the rug of "just office politics", there'd be no need for anti-discrimination laws in the first place.

It's sad that discrimination is fully acceptable and even encouraged by most workplaces, as long as it doesn't touch on any of the hot reasons - sex, race, religion = not OK. Nationality, personality, friends with boss = OK. I'd say personality and religion are both pretty similar in how difficult they are to change. So surely they should be treated similarly. The rules are just arbitrary. It would be OK if Pao was a man and "his" boss just didn't like him being a buzzkill at a party? Doesn't sound OK to me.

> “Matt Murphy said he had looked at the company before, and that the founding team ‘wasn’t business minded,’ and that they would not be able to generate revenues and create a sustainable business.”

This honestly seems dead on about the past Twitter. It wasn't until they killed most of their API clients with enforcement bots and login token limits and forced in advertising and required display formats that they were really business minded. I don't think the article is helping to make it's point by claiming it is incorrect.

One quote stands out for me - "we're a small partnership". Now it could be bad transcription by TC but that shows even after sueing them, Pao still thinks of Kleiner as part of her.

It's hard to fake.

I feel sorry for her - she has a huge uphill slog ahead of her, and even if she wins, her career is start on her own or move to growing oranges.

I look forward to hearing Pao associates making investments in female founded businesses using money raised from female only investors.

Probably the only way to get taken seriously.

Not to take away from the merits of her case at all (which is still to be decided), but she is probably not hurting for money.

She was earning what, $500,000 (i.e. half a million) a year at Kleiner?

The USD 16 million she's seeking in damages is for lost income (apparently she could have earned up to $3 million a year if she got promoted at Kleiner).

Not to mention her current husband is Alphonse 'Buddy' Fletcher Jr, an ex-hedge fund manager, who also sued his former employee in a $1.3 million lawsuit for discrimination. (Ironically, he's also been sued himself by two guys for sexual harassment, and apparently lost, but that was settled privately, so we don't know how much that was for).

Either way, neither Pao nor her husband are hurting for cash.

All the players on both sides are probably living in some stratospheric world that ordinary Joes like you and I probably can't even fathom.

It really isn't the point. Yes she earns multiples more than me, but on the partner track at kleiner she would expect to make millions. Chucking her out because she is a woman (or gay or not white or whatever) is an offence. We punish offences because that is what a fair society does. Even if the victim is not sympathetic or "one of us".

In fact the last reason is the reason we have these laws - to defend people who are not one of us.

Plus it is good to remind everyone once in a while that the law is in charge, not money, not anti-terrorism sentiment, not administrations. The law.

It takes a battering, so it needs the occasional public win.

I think you need to re-read my comment again.

As I mentioned, the merits of her case haven't been decided in either direction - let's all wait for the judgement.

However, I'm pointing out this whole ludicrous "she's one of us!", and "occasional public win!" is pretty absurd.

Here in Australia, we love rooting for the underdog, but as I said, none of the parties in this case are underdogs.

It's not like Kleiner is able to out-lawyer her. I mean, really? She's a lawyer, married to a ex-hedge fund manager (who has previously successfully sued for discrimination, and ironically been sued himself as well) - they have oodles of experience, and millions to fund this to completion.

To me, this is just a case of two adversaries, slogging it out in a civil case. Kleiner is trying to slant this as, office relationship gone wrong, and Pao has sour grapes. Pao is trying to slant this as, company was out to get me because I'm a woman, and they are a bunch of misogynistic pigs. If there was wrong here, I'd want justice meted out to the wrongful party.

However, I don't for a minute think that Pao (or Kleiner) is on "my team", or that either party represents the voice of the people.

They're just two rich parties, slogging it out, and we should hope that justice will prevail.

I was agreeing that she is outrageously well placed to take them on. She is definitely "not one of us" if us are people with net worth below a couple of million.

But ironically the laws she is using are there to defend individuals from discrimination by those who might say that individual is "not one of us".

I do not see this as two rich adversaries, the outcome of which is of little consequence or interest. I see this as an unusual example of one rich and powerful interest (Kleiner) (who represents what apparently is a deep and entrenched vein of misogyny in IT/VC and that vein has anecdotally been using it's power to discriminate in this fashion and get away with it) and an alleged victim of discrimination who happens to be rich/powerful enough to put up a fight.

I do happen to think that, like women only short lists, women only funds are likely to be in our future.

Reading your comment, I suspect in many ways you have already decided on the "right" and "wrong" party in your head (e.g. look at your description of Kleiner).

I don't have a horse in this race, and nor have I pre-decided the outcome - let's wait for the courts.

It could go either way - either somebody is crying wolf, or somebody discriminated against an employee, and stopped their promotion.

It may take some time for this to churn through the courts, and an outcome to be decided - I suspect much of the mob may already have moved on and lost interest by then...lol.

And I'm sorry, but I don't know what to make of your last sentence. There wasn't any reasoning or context attached to the statement, so I'm not really sure how I should reply.

Buddy isn't doing as well as he was in the past.

In 2010 allegations arose that he couldn't afford to pay his mortgage and in 2011 one of his major sources of capital for his hedge fund requested that he return their funds. They're now suing him.

The timeline is that just as his legal/financial issues reach a crescendo Ellen files a lawsuit.

Personally I think they're more than likely unrelated but it's unfortunate timing.

Ahem... She's currently the interim CEO at Reddit.

Good point on the "we" though.

If anyone is interesting in reading the Trial Brief from Kleiner Perkins, the pdf is here: http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/256174...

(1) Talk about clickbait title?

(2) While the issue is obviously very important: I feel like this post has a bias. There is absolutely no information about her husband's hedge fund going bankrupt, which seems to me like a motive to sue for money.

How is her needing money a relevant argument in deciding if her lawsuit has merit?

Curious timing:

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If you're talking about having relationships with semi-married coworkers: generally yes, you're right.

However, I don't think your phrase applies to anything else about this case, hence the downvotes if people interpreted it differently than me... :)

It's disappointing that this comment is getting downvoted. This case would be so much simpler if Pao had started talking about needing HR policies before she had an affair with a married co-worker.

Definitely. If only she had done things a little differently, she could have prevented her associates from having to discriminate against her for not continuing to date them.

There is something to be said about how, if the patterns of discrimination were a more straight-forward story, it would be better for Pao. The issues around that one partner post-relationship seem to be only one part of much larger problem (assuming the allegations are even roughly true), but "having an affair with a married coworker" is the type of thing that people really get sidetracked on.

The case could stand on its own without those events -- I think it's within good decency to point out the danger/distraction of these lateral issues.

Yes. This is why professionals don't date coworkers (married or otherwise).

Professionals do in fact date coworkers. It happens all the time - it's a matter of culture. Spend some time at Microsoft, for example. "Microsoft Married" is in the corporate slang lexicon on the intranet.

He's implying that if you do date coworkers at the office it's unprofessional, not that people in a professional capacity don't make bad decisions and put their career at risk by dating coworkers.

Of course, what he's managing to imply is that women should not date men at their offices. Because it victimizes the men, who are forced to retaliate when the relationship ends, and then they look bad in the press.

Could you be more paternalistic? We're talking about a woman who was a partner at one of the best VC firms in the world. Pointing our her unprofessional behavior implies nothing more than that _she_ should have known better. If you really want to be a white knight, stop treating women at the top of the industry like interns.

"White knight" is definitely a term that makes me sit up and take notice that maybe it's me that might be on the worst possible side of a debate.

According to her testimony (according to this article), the person whom she had the affair with made False Statements regarding his marital status.

They worked together. I find zero credibility in that statement.

If someone you worked with were intentionally deceptive about the status of their romantic relationships how long would it take you to find out?

Most people keep their work and personal lives somewhat separate for a reason.

Interpreting your comment charitably, you are exactly right that it would be simpler had this been the case.

Another fact: it would also be simpler had she not been (allegedly) lied to about the marriage status of the co-worker.

You have to wonder about the ethics of someone who - by this account - was willing to tell obvious stupid lies about his marital status to get a few shags.

If all of this is true, and it was the ethical baseline for co-worker relationships, what's the ethical baseline for client relationships?

Why didn't she ask someone to verify. Sounds very shady to me. She knew he was married. I don't believe a lot of what she is saying now. Some but not all.

"married" was only one word in my comment. Replace it with "recently separated" or even "single" and it still equals incredibly inappropriate conduct. the reason you don't dip your pen in the company ink is that it gets messy.

I don't think we disagree. If it's valid to point out she shouldn't have been engaging in any kind of relationship with a co-worker, then it's equally valid to point out the same thing for the co-worker.

The case would also have been simpler if KPC was run like a real company that understood that it can be found liable for the discriminatory actions of its employees and the atmosphere that follows.

Absolutely. I imagine this hypothetical company would have fired both parties who ingaged in an affair that caused friction at the office. My point was that Pao seems a day late and a dollar short by pursuing an HR solution after, rather than instead of, having an affair with a collegue.

I guess we need to start having all-female and all-male companies. It seems like trying to have the sexes get along is becoming a huge legal liability and not worth it.

Well, that would only work for straight people. Everyone else would have to work on a team with a maximum size of two, which seems like a rather unfair way for the world to work.

No, I think we're just going to have to figure out how to get along.

That is utopianist thinking. There are always going to be personal vendettas between people. There is no amout of education or cultural change that will alter that fact. That is why we need courts, laws, rules, etc.

Much easier to just not be dickheads to the opposite sex. Plenty of workplaces manage this just fine. The fact that this incident is abnormal enough to get a lot of attention is encouraging.

Agreed. All the companies I've worked at have had very professional work relationships between male and female employees. Many of my project managers were female, and nobody had any problems. If you're a professional it shouldn't matter whether your colleagues are male or female. It's mostly about being a reasonable human being.

If I am an employer with 100 male employees, how do I ensure that none of those 100 guys is a dickhead once? Plus, there is always a risk that a woman will simply lie about some kind of harassment.

Much better to just not hire any females, or to have an all-female company and not hire any males.

"If I am an employer with 100 male employees, how do I ensure that none of those 100 guys is a dickhead once?"

Shaking my head here...It's very simple: have a competent HR department.

a. The alleged dickhead does something.

b. The alleged victim feels comfortable taking the issue to HR.

c. HR does a complete, impartial investigation listening to both sides and taking all factors into consideration.

d. HR recommends a course of action. In almost every initial case, this means an informal mediation between the two individuals led by a trained mediator.

e. Company leadership follows the HR recommendation.

By the way, this is what most American companies do. It's not rocket science and there's no need to re-invent the wheel.

Bear in mind that most places, HR is trusted roughly as much as your average scorpion. People dread the mere possibility of ever dealing with HR.

Is it really "most places," or is it like many things where it's rare but nobody talks about the nice interactions so you get a skewed impression?

(I haven't had any real job with an HR department so I have no direct experience myself.)

The general belief is that HR is there to protect the company from you. As a result, HR is not generally expected to help you with your problems, and any encounter with HR has a dramatically greater potential downside than potential upside.

So in the interests of controlling risk, encounters with HR are to be limited.

No argument here; I work in HR myself. But people dread a lot of things that the law requires them to do, like fill out income tax forms or stand in line at the DMV for a drivers license. That's just part of being an adult.

All kinds of horrible things can be papered over with the reasoning, "that's just part of being an adult." For instance, taxes are needlessly complicated and dealing with that complexity is an enormous drain on the economy; we should fix it.

In the case we are talking about, presumably, some version of this took place.

But yeah, I am really just trying to make a broader point that I think people should just part ways when they have personal disagreements, rather than sue one another. And I think the law should reflect that expectation, rather than working the way it works now.

It is a reductio ad absurdum (having all-male or all-female companies is the absurdum).

Is this a real conclusion, or is it just a smart remark?

If it is real, what evidence did you feed into your reasoning process? There are apparently lots of places where men and women do work together without issue, so I wonder how you are weighting that.

I was just making a point. It is mostly what you would call a "smart remark." But not entirely. It's also just an intesting observation. I mean, if you happen to have a company with 20 or 100 men, you'd be crazy to make the 21st or 101th hire a woman. Or vice versa.

Maybe we're still experiences the growing pains of having a corporate culture with a lot of both women and men?

It seems odd though if that's still the case, after all these years.

Agreed. It's become too distracting and polarizing.

What really screws up this tale is -- it's not a case of "unwanted advances."

The fact that she says 'he made repeated unwanted advances' is simply NOT TRUE.

I'm not even going to elucidate WHY what she said is patently not true. If you're aware of the history of what transpired for the entire length of time that Pao and Nazre you already know she's a liar.

If I was on the KPCB legal team, I'd have to point out this fallacious claim she's made.

Once you can show that a complainant is a liar -- it will destroy the rest of their case. If the complainant is willing to go on record and make a false statement to the court -- it's game over.

>I'm not even going to elucidate WHY what she said is patently not true

Why not?

I don't think unwanted advances is or should be illegal unless you make workplace relationships illegal too - since for a relationship to happen an 'advance' was required in the first place. Otherwise you'd make successful advances legal and rejected advances illegal, which basically means "Lockup all the rejects in jail."

Pao and Nazre ended up in a relationship so those advances were only part of the courting process. He was a dick for lying about his spouse but lying to get into a relationship isn't illegal.

What's in front of the jury is whether there was misconduct company and its employees in handling the situation post Pao-Nazre breakup.

Well it would be condescending to those of us who know the history of the two at KPCB to point out the obvious.

But stay tuned to the case -- although attorneys know to drag things out to generate billable hours, eventually this will come up in the case. If you re-read the complaint, with decent reading comprehension you'll get it.

HINT: "I came to HR because I'm being harassed by a male colleague that I'm never, ever going to date in any way shape or form, and he still keeps making advances, he won't stop, I need help from the company."

Now that would be a solid case.

> Well it would be condescending to those of us who know the history of the two at KPCB to point out the obvious.

Just going out on a limb, but it sounds like you might be trying to say: I know this to be objectively true, but there is no way for me to prove it to you.

That is a common situation that we as humans don't seem to have a name for, but probably should.

(FYI, I did not downvote... in fact I upvoted your comment.)

The history of the case is all out there. KPCB was going to fire Nazre. But Pao petitioned the leadership not to.

The complaint/lawsuit from Pao is: "Nazre was harrassing me. And KPCB wouldn't do anything about it. That's gender discrimination."

HERE ARE THE FACTS. 1) she had a consensual relationship with Nazre. 2) when she complained she was being 'harrassed', John Doerr -- the main guy at KPCB -- was going to fire Nazre. But Pao talked the company out of that.

At each step in her construction of a possible lawsuit, she was complicit. Dated Nazre. Complained about Nazre after they split. Petitioned KPCB not to fire Nazre.

It's all a load of crap from the outset. If this was a clean case, where the complainant had zero complicity, ie. "a coworker is making unwanted advances" and the firm did nothing, well okay. But that's not what happened.

"After learning [from Pao] of Nazre's behavior, Doerr was angry with him and wanted to fire him. But Pao opposed, sending e-mails to senior partners urging them to help Nazre rather than fire him."

The decision whether or not to fire Nazre was above Pao's pay grade. It was also above Doerr's or anyone else's. If it can be determined that someone is sexually harassing coworkers, in this context, he must be fired. Otherwise the firm deserves the lawsuits it is sure to get.

And again an Indian descendant in a sexual harassment case. Is this a bias or a cultural thing?

Managers have been hitting on younger female subordinates/secretaries since the invention of capitalism. I fail to see what this has to do with Valley brogrammer culture (not that it doesn't exist). It wasn't even technically an IT firm.


Pao was making $560k all in. Part of the complaint is that she thought she deserved to be senior partner, where she would have made $3 million.


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