October 29, 2020

Pao lawyers slap Facebook with discrimination suit


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Facebook Menlo ParkBy Marisa Kendall, From The Recorder

SAN FRANCISCO — A former Facebook employee is suing the company for gender discrimination and harassment, claiming her supervisor belittled her at work and asked why she “did not just stay home and take care of her child.”

Chia Hong, who worked for Facebook Inc. from June 2010 to October 2013, is represented by San Francisco employment firm Lawless & Lawless, one of two firms representing Ellen Pao in a gender bias trial against Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. That case has sparked nationwide media coverage and drawn attention to the low numbers of women in the venture-capital and tech industries.

Hong accuses supervisor Anil Wilson of ignoring her opinions and input during group meetings in which she was either the only woman or one of very few women present. She claims Wilson admonished her for taking one personal day a month to volunteer at her child’s school, even though that time was allowed under company policy. And Hong says Wilson, who is listed as a defendant in the complaint filed Monday in San Mateo Superior Court, ordered her to organize parties and serve drinks to male colleagues, which was not part of her job description, nor was it asked of the men.

The complaint also accuses Facebook of discriminating against and harassing Hong because she is Taiwanese.

A Facebook spokeswoman denied the accusations Tuesday.

“We work extremely hard on issues related to diversity, gender and equality, and we believe we’ve made progress,” the spokeswoman wrote in an email. “In this case we have substantive disagreements on the facts, and we believe the record shows the employee was treated fairly.”Hong was hired as a program manager for Facebook, and became a technology partner in 2012, according to her complaint. She received positive performance evaluations roughly every six months during her employment, but was replaced by a less qualified, less experienced man, Hong’s lawyers wrote. When Hong complained about the discrimination and harassment, she says her supervisors retaliated by giving her unwarranted negative feedback in a performance evaluation. Facebook eventually fired Hong in October 2013.

According to the suit, Wilson told Hong “he had heard she was an ‘order taker,’ by which he meant that she did not exercise independent discretion in the execution of her job duties.” She was also told she was not integrated into the team because, as a woman of Taiwanese descent, she “looks different and talks differently than other team members,” Hong’s lawyers wrote.

Hong is seeking putative damages and injunctive relief.

“Plaintiff suffered severe mental distress, suffering and anguish as a legal result of defendants’ outrageous conduct,” the suit states, “reacting to her discharge with humiliation, embarrassment, anger, disappointment and worry.”

IMAGE: Facebook’s campus at 1601 Willow Rd., Menlo Park, Calif.

For more on this story go to: http://www.therecorder.com/id=1202720875928/Pao-Lawyers-Slap-Facebook-With-Discrimination-Suit#ixzz3UjoEcwtH

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