Ellen Pao loses in Silicon Valley’s big gender discrimination case

courthouse sf

csread/flickr

A historic case remains in a gray area right until the end.

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.

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. 

Pao’s lawsuit brought four distinct claims against her former employer. The jury ruled in favor of Kleiner.   

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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) 

Taylor Hatmaker

Taylor Hatmaker

Taylor Hatmaker has reported on the tech industry for nearly a decade, covering privacy and government. Most recently, she was the Debug editor of the Daily Dot. Prior to that, she was a staff writer and deputy editor at ReadWrite, a tech and business reporter for Yahoo News, and the senior editor of Tecca. Her editorial interests include censorship, digital activism, LGBTQ issues, and futurist consumer tech.