Pao alleged Kleiner Perkins did not promote her because of her gender and then retaliated when she complained, eventually firing her, and did not adequately address entrenched discrimination. The case has become a flashpoint in debates around women in Silicon Valley, where venture capital firms remain dominated by men. Women are just 5.6 percent of venture capital firm investment decision-makers.
According to The New York Times, a long list of Boys’ Club behaviors came out over the course of the trial:
The suit and the trial introduced a number of colorful phrases that were said to have been uttered to or about Ms. Pao. Most were heavily disputed by the defense, but they nevertheless served to define Kleiner as having refused to evolve since it was formed in the early 1970s.
During the trial, numerous details emerged, including Mr. Doerr’s [a Kleiner partner] telling an investigator that Ms. Pao had a “female chip on her shoulder.” Chi-Hua Chien, a partner, said women should not be invited to a dinner with former Vice President Al Gore because they “kill the buzz.” A senior partner at the time, Ray Lane, joked to a junior partner that she should be “flattered” that a colleague showed up at her hotel room door wearing only a bathrobe. Another senior partner, Ted Schlein, seemed never to have heard of the exhortation of Sheryl Sandberg, a senior Facebook executive, that women should “sit at the table,” testifying, “I really don’t think it was a very big deal to us who sits at a table or who does not.”
Pao asked for $16 million in damages.
Two other high-profile Silicon Valley discrimination cases, one against Twitter and one against Facebook, were filed recently and remain in litigation.