Update 8:19pm CT, Mar. 27: Reddit’s interim CEO Ellen Pao on Friday lost her gender discrimination case against Silicon Valley venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Pao took to Twitter to comment.
1. Thank you, world.— Ellen K. Pao (@ekp) March 28, 2015
2. I have been inspired by the thousands of people who have reached out to me over the past three years with support.— Ellen K. Pao (@ekp) March 28, 2015
3. I’ve heard from people in Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, Australia, Malaysia, France, Argentina, Norway, Tanzania, Finland, and beyond.— Ellen K. Pao (@ekp) March 28, 2015
4. Because of social media and live reports, the problem of gender discrimination in venture capital has received attention around the globe— Ellen K. Pao (@ekp) March 28, 2015
5. While today’s outcome is a disappointment, I take consolation in knowing that people really listened— Ellen K. Pao (@ekp) March 28, 2015
6. If we do not share our stories and shine a light on inequities, things will not change— Ellen K. Pao (@ekp) March 28, 2015
7. Hopefully my case will inspire the venture capital industry to level the playing field for everyone, including women and minorities— Ellen K. Pao (@ekp) March 28, 2015
9. To support the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, we need to show leadership today.— Ellen K. Pao (@ekp) March 28, 2015
10. And thank you to the team and board @reddit for standing by me.— Ellen K. Pao (@ekp) March 28, 2015
Late Friday afternoon, the jury fumbled the vote count in one of the case’s key allegations—that Kleiner terminated Ellen Pao’s employment in retaliation for the lawsuit she had filed. With reporters for sites like BuzzFeed and Re/code issuing live updates from the courthouse, the jury returned an 8-4 verdict in what looked like a final blow to Pao’s case.
Uh oh. Not so fast! Jury did bad math. 8-4 nos yeses versus 9-3 on the last claim of retaliation. #ellenpao Judge sends jury back.— Alexia Bonatsos (@alexia) March 27, 2015
Pao’s lawsuit brought four distinct claims against her former employer. The jury ruled in favor of Kleiner.
After Friday afternoon’s flurry of confusion, the court clarified that the jury must reach a final verdict of 9-3 and the jury resumed deliberations. The suit, filed in San Francisco’s Superior Court in 2012, went to trial in late February.
Pao’s lawsuit is widely regarded as a historic moment for the tech community. Even beyond the bounds of tech, the case’s high-profile issues are imperative for employers to examine corporate culture for overt instances of sexism and symptoms of structural, unconscious gender bias within their own corporate cultures.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to provide additional clarity and context.
Photo via csread/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)