June 18, 2015
Partner Barbara E. Hoey was interviewed on Bloomberg Television’s Bloomberg West to discuss interim Reddit CEO Ellen Pao’s gender discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, LLC. Ms. Pao claimed that Kleiner Perkins paid and promoted men more than women and engaged in workplace retaliation by terminating her after she ended a personal relationship with a male junior partner.
Joined by Mar Hershenson, managing partner at Pejman Mar Ventures, Ms. Hoey and Ms. Hershenson talked about the lawsuit and a Bloomberg West interview with Kleiner Perkins partner John Doerr in which he said he was unable to settle the case outside of court and that the venture capital industry has publicly been cast as treating women unequally, despite the fact that the firm was found not liable. Ms. Hoey commented:
“Many of my clients feel, when they get into these cases, that employment litigation is the most personal type of litigation there is and a harassment claim is personal to both the plaintiff and the defendant. It’s very emotional for both sides. It’s more than just about more money, and that’s what I heard from John Doerr. It wasn’t about money for him. It was about his reputation, his firm’s reputation, and I think he feels – reading between the lines – this wasn’t something he could settle, at least at this juncture, because his firm wasn’t found liable. And so whether it’s about paying [Kleiner Perkins] $2.7 million or [Ellen Pao] paying $276,000, Kleiner Perkins was found not to have violated the law or discriminated against Ellen. I read the judge’s opinion and I think the award is more than about fees. I think he’s trying to send a message: end this, this should be over, the verdict is final and both sides should respect the verdict and move on.”