Ellen Pao, who was at the center of a high-profile case of gender bias at a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, filed an appeal in the San Francisco Superior Court on Monday against a March verdict. The previous judgment in favor of the defendant Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, had said that the employer did not discriminate against Pao.
Pao’s lawyers had said that she was a renowned junior partner before she was passed over for a promotion, alleging that the company judged men and women according to different standards. Her lawyers had also claimed that she was fired after she complained about the company's discriminatory practices. The case highlighted allegations of inequality at elite technology and venture capital firms, where women are underrepresented, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
"We remain committed to gender diversity in the workplace and believe that women in technology would be best served by focusing on this issue outside of continued litigation," Christina Lee, a spokeswoman for Kleiner said, Reuters reported Monday.
Pao, who worked at the company from 2005 until 2012, had said that she faced several humiliations within the company, including one incident where she received a book of erotic poetry from a partner at the firm. She also alleged that she was kept out of emails and meetings after she ended her affair with Ajit Nazre, a partner at the firm, the AP reported.
Pao had sought $16 million in damages from the company through the trial, that went on for a month and consisted of a jury of six men and six women, the Wall Street Journal reported. After the jury ruled on the case, three jurors had told Reuters, that they looked at Pao’s negative performance reviews to conclude that she did not deserve the promotion.
The company said, according to the AP, that it also offered Pao $964,000 before the trial began, to settle the case, but she did not respond. Kleiner is now seeking $973,000 in litigation costs from Pao, who is currently working as the interim chief executive at social news service Reddit. The venture capital firm has reportedly said that it will be willing to waive off the legal costs if Pao does not appeal. The hearing on legal costs requested by Kleiner is scheduled for June 18.
“I have told my story and thousands of people have heard it,” Pao had said after the March verdict, according to Forbes, adding: “If I’ve helped to level the playing field for women and minorities in venture capital, then the battle was worth it.”
Pao faces a tough time as the case would be heard by California's First District Court of Appeal, which has ruled in favor of employers in 84 percent cases, Reuters reported, citing Westlaw data.