Jury Reaches Verdict In Ellen Pao Sexism Case

A decision has been reached in the gender bias trial of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, in which Ellen Pao accused the Silicon Valley firm of discriminating against women.

The jury ruled against Pao and confirmed what many women dreaded during the jury deliberations — that venture capital is a “boy’s club.”

According to USA Today, lawyers and reporters rushed back to the courtroom Friday afternoon to hear the verdict in the closely watched lawsuit.

In the lawsuit, Pao alleged that she was denied promotions based on the fact that she was a woman. According to Bloomberg Business, she claims that the firm retaliated against her after she complained that a male partner forced her to have an affair. Kleiner insists that Pao was passed over for the promotion and eventually terminated because she could not get along with the partners and lacked the knowledge she needed to perform her job successfully.

The seven-page verdict sheet filled out by the jury had asked several questions involving Pao’s alleged discrimination at the hands of the firm. The first was whether Pao’s gender was a factor in the firm’s failure to promote her to managing partner and whether she was harmed by not being promoted.

Other questions asked if she was terminated because of her gender, whether her conversations with a firm partner and others about what she believed was gender bias in the firm were the reason she was not promoted and later fired, or whether the firm’s claim of Pao’s poor job performance were the real reasons she was passed over for promotion and terminated.

The jurors were also asked if Pao were not a woman, would she still have been passed over for promotion and fired with equivalent job performance, and if they believed Kleiner took “all reasonable steps to prevent gender discrimination against Ms. Pao.”

After hearing conflicting accounts from Pao and Kleiner’s attorneys during the trial, the jury decided that Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer did not discriminate against Pao based on the questions they were asked.

Pao seemed to take the verdict in stride and waved to the jury as she left the courtroom after the decision was reached.

“I have told my story and thousands of people have heard it,” she told ABC News. “If I helped to level the playing field for women and minorities in venture capital, then the battle was worth it.”

[Image via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

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