Ellen Pao Decides to Drop Appeal in Gender-Discrimination Case

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Former interim Reddit CEO Ellen Pao has dropped her appeal against Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, the venture-capital firm she accused of gender discrimination and retaliation. In March, a jury in San Francisco found that gender was not the main reason she was not promoted and then ultimately fired at Kleiner Perkins when she was a partner. She will now have to pay the firm nearly $276,000; in an essay on Re/code, she cited the potential cost of an appeal as a reason she could not continue. "Even the courts do not provide a level playing field," she writes, "and it is hard to afford justice. I hope future cases prove me wrong and show that our community and our jurists have now developed a better understanding of how discrimination works in real life, in the tech world, in the press and in the courts." She added one request: "Please don’t try to silence employees who raise discrimination and harassment concerns." 

Kleiner Perkins is "glad to put this trial behind [them]," according to a statement. "There is no question diversity in the workplace is an important issue. KPCB remains committed to supporting women and minorities in venture capital and technology both inside our firm and within our industry."

In July, Pao resigned from Reddit after enduring what she called ”one of the largest trolling attacks in history.” Angry users of the online-forum website started a Change.org petition calling for her resignation after Reddit started banning hate-filled and racist subreddits. “I, along with several of my colleagues, was threatened with harassing messages, attempts to post my private information online, and death threats,” she explained in an essay on the Washington Post. “These were attempts to demean, shame, and scare us into silence.”

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal shortly after her Kleiner Perkins case was decided, Pao said:

I think the fact that a lot of this is subtle, that people have different views on where the line is, makes it a very worthwhile discussion. Until you draw that line at your company, people are going to give it a wide boundary. Then you end up with a lot of problems, because your expectations aren’t the same, or you’re not sure if it’s really a problem. I think we have moved through a lot of the really blatant issues that are clear-cut and now we’re getting to harder issues. When you look at the overall experience of women in the workplace, they are not succeeding, and that seems pretty clear-cut to me. So how do we fix that problem?”