Gender Discrimination Lawsuits at Silicon Valley Tech Companies - NBC Bay Area
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Gender Discrimination Lawsuits at Silicon Valley Tech Companies

Add Binary Capital venture capital firm co-founder Justin Calbeck to a growing list of executives and companies in Silicon Valley faced with sexual discrimination charges. 

Caldbeck, who recently apologized for using his position for sexual gain, resigned shortly after six women came forward detailing explicit late-night text messages, groping and unwanted sexual advances.

The announcement came just after Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigned following an investigation into gender discrimination at his company as well.

Here are some other high-profile cases that attracted national attention and prompted changes at Silicon Valley tech companies:

Pao v. Byers, November of 2011 to February of 2015

In a three-year legal battle, Reddit CEO Ellen Pao sued her former employer and lost. The high-profile case drew national attention when Pao sought $16 million in damages against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Following her loss, Pao may have been on the hook for $1 million in legal costs if she didn’t drop the case.

Hong v. Facebook and Huang v. Twitter, March of 2015

Shortly after the Pao verdict, two other gender discrimination lawsuits followed. Chia Hong sued Facebook following a data analysis she did concluding that code created by female employees was rejected more frequently than code written by their male colleagues, but the company refuted the basis of Hong's allegation.

Twitter engineer Tina Huang also filed a lawsuit in March recounting a history of bypassing qualified women for promotions. Twitter denied the allegations and published new diversity initiatives shortly after.

Moussouris v. Microsoft, September of 2015

Katie Moussouris' suit on behalf of "all current and former female technical professionals employed by Microsoft in the U.S." argued that Microsoft's evaluation process discriminated against women, resulting in women being promoted less frequently and paid less than their male colleagues. Microsoft responded that it tried to maintain "a workplace where all employees have the chance to succeed." The court has dismissed Microsoft's request to dismiss the claims on two occasions last year, and the lawsuit is ongoing.

Ard  v. Yahoo and Anderson v. Yahoo, October of 2016

On the flip side, Yahoo's focus on elevating and hiring more women landed them in the hot seat for gender discrimination as well. The company was involved in two separate lawsuits by former male employees, Scott Ard and Greg Anderson. The pair argued that higher-ranking female executives showed bias to female employees in the annual review and hiring process.

Justice Dept. v. Oracle, January of 2017

At the start of 2017, the Department of Labor announced it would sue Oracle, because it found a pay gap by gender and race. Oracle called the lawsuit "politically motivated, based on false allegations and wholly without merit."

Essay: "Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber," February of 2017

While it wasn't a lawsuit, a blog post penned by Uber engineer Susan Fowler generated a massive audience and sparked an internal investigation by Uber and another by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Uber fired at least 20 people during the investigation into Fowler’s claims and CEO Travis Kalanick resigned in June.

Labor Department v. Google, April of 2017

The U.S. Department of Labor sued Google for "extreme" gender pay discrimination while the tech giant argued it found no gender pay gap in its own internal analysis.

Lai v. Binary Capital, June of 2017

The company came under public scrutiny following a lawsuit by Ann Lai and six accounts from women detailed sexual harassment by Justin Caldbeck, the co-founder of Binary Capital venture capital firm. Caldbeck apologized for using his position for sexual gain and resigned.

Rebecca Greenway covers news on the San Francisco Peninsula. Connect with her on Facebook or send an email to rebecca.greenway@nbcuni.com.

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