By Sarah McBride
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 3 (Reuters) - A sexual harassment lawsuit
that rocked Silicon Valley has taken another turn, with the
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner who filed the suit
saying the firm told her on Monday to "leave and not come back."
The venture-capital firm, however, said she was still an
"I have been terminated from my job at KPCB," Ellen Pao
wrote in a post on the question-and-answer site Quora late
"On Monday afternoon, senior management told me to clean out
my office, leave, and not come back."
Kleiner Perkins, however, said Pao remained on staff for now.
"Because of long-standing issues having no relationship or
bearing on the litigation, Kleiner Perkins approached Ms. Pao to
facilitate her transition, over an extended period of time, out
of the firm," a Kleiner Perkins spokeswoman said in a statement.
"The proposed terms, that did not require Ms. Pao to waive
any legal rights or claims, are generous, fair, and intended to
support Ms. Pao in a successful career transition."
Pao's lawyer, Alan Exelrod, said in a brief phone interview
that he would file a new charge with California authorities
later Wednesday, alleging Kleiner Perkins' move to keep Pao from
work was retaliation for Pao's lawsuit. In addition, Exelrod
plans to amend Pao's lawsuit to add retaliation and
discrimination charges stemming from Kleiner Perkins' actions,
Pao's May lawsuit against the firm alleged harassment and
gender discrimination. It painted a picture of a firm where
complaints against harassment were ignored, where a senior
partner suggested that marrying the alleged harasser might be
the solution to Pao's difficulties and where women were labeled
In its June response to Pao's suit, Kleiner Perkins denied
Pao's charges. It also said Pao's performance was lacking in
some areas, including in "thought leadership."
Pao has been involved in successful investments such as
RPX Corp., the patent company, according to the Kleiner Perkins
website. RPX raised $159.6 million in an initial public offering
Pao is still listed on the firm's website as an employee,
with responsibility for start-ups 41st Parameter, an
Internet-fraud prevention company; Crittercism, a mobile-app
service; Datameer, an analytics company; Flipboard, an online
social-magazine company; iControl, a home-monitoring company;
and Lehigh Technologies, a green-materials company.
Kleiner management told Pao she must "transition off" the
boards she sits on, Exelrod said. She currently serves on the
Datameer, Flipboard and Lehigh Technologies boards.
As recently as a few weeks ago, Pao was doing due diligence
into potential future investments for Kleiner Perkins, according
to a partner at another major venture capital firm who said Pao
approached him informally about co-investing in an enterprise
Pao planned to bring the company to the attention of other
Kleiner Perkins partners for consideration as a portfolio
investment, said the partner at the rival firm, who declined to
be identified because of the sensitive nature of the case.
He did not pursue the investment, believing he lacked
expertise in the sector and doubting that Pao would be able to
enlist the cooperation of her partners while engaged in a
lawsuit against them.
"Since this whole lawsuit has been filed, she has been
continuing to do her work," said Exelrod, Pao's lawyer. He did
not know the last company Pao had brought to her partners for
Kleiner Perkins' backing. A Kleiner Perkins spokeswoman had no
comment on details of Pao's recent work.
Throughout the lawsuit, Pao has been going into work and
attending Kleiner Perkins events, which a person familiar with
the matter said has been awkward for other employees.
In July, a judge turned down the firm's attempt to move the
case into arbitration. Kleiner said it was appealing that
decision; its brief is due Nov. 8.
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