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Judge denies Kleiner Perkins’ motion to move sexual harassment case to arbitration

19 Sep 2013

ellen pao kleiner perkins KPCBA sexual harassment lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers will be returned to San Francisco Superior Court after a judge rejected the firm’s motion to take the case to arbitration.

The lawsuit, which was filed by the firm’s former partner Ellen Pao, alleges that former KPCB partner Ajit Nazre threatened to damage her career after she refused his sexual advances. She said that when she complained to managing partner Ray Lane he suggested she should marry Nazre.

In addition, Pao accused partner Randy Komisar of inappropriate behaviour including giving her sexually-themed poetry by Leonard Cohen as a Valentine’s Day gift.

Pao sued KPCB in May 2012 and was fired from the firm in October, which she said was directly related to the case.

“I’m glad the court moved quickly after this series of delays from Kleiner, and that we’re back on track to getting our day in court,” Pao said in an email message, according to Reuters.

A Kleiner Perkins spokesperson previously said the firm intended to “vigorously defend the matter and are confident we will prevail.”

Pao is married to hedge fund manager Alphonse Fletcher, who sued his employer Kidder, Peabody and Co for racial discrimination in 1991 and was awarded $1.26m by arbitrators.

Ten years later, Fletcher filed another discrimination lawsuit against the Dakora co-op building’s board in New York.

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