Sex discrimination alleged in Silicon Valley

Frank S. Clowney III

As many California workers may know, workplace discrimination may be cited when an employee is treated unequally due to his or her sex. A case in Silicon Valley that began jury selection in San Francisco on Feb. 23 involves this issue. According to legal sources, the fact that the case has gone to court is unusual since lawsuits at this level are often settled out of court.

The case involves a prestigious venture capital firm for which the plaintiff worked as a junior partner. According to court papers, the plaintiff said she was discriminated against at the firm because she was a woman. Details concerning the specific charges were not known at the time of the report. However, an advocate for equal rights maintains that such issues are common in industries such as finance and technology. The advocate continued saying that women are not included in the final decision-making process, and this case epitomizes a common complaint in this area. While specifics are not yet revealed, the plaintiff, currently the CEO of a popular website, conceded that she engaged in a relationship with a co-worker at the firm. The co-worker, she said, was unfair in his treatment of her when it ended.

A law school professor said allegations by the defense might be less than courteous, something commonly seen in such cases, and not all allegations are true. The defense attorney asked prospective jurors how they felt about working as a team. This defense strategy targets the woman’s ability to be part of a team at work when rights are questioned, the equal rights advocate said.

As in this case, workplace discrimination based on sex may be challenged. An employee may benefit from consulting with an attorney who might assist in filing a complaint against the employer.

Source: ABC7, “Jury Selection Begins in Silicon Valley Gender Discrimination Case”, Jonathan Bloom, Feb. 23, 2015