Ellen Pao says she has been fired by Kleiner Perkins

The VC's junior partner sued her employer in May, alleging she endured five years of retaliation for rebuffing sexual advances from senior partners.

Ellen Pao Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Last updated: 11:25 a.m. PT

Ellen Pao, the junior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers who filed a lawsuit earlier this year against her employer alleging gender discrimination and retaliation, has been fired from the Silicon Valley VC, she announced late Tuesday.

"I have been terminated from my job at KPCB," she said in a statement on Q&A site Quora. "On Monday afternoon, senior management told me to clean out my office, leave, and not come back."

Pao's allegation was included in an updated response to a Quora user's question in June, "Did Ellen Pao quit KPCB after the lawsuit?" and under her own account name Pao replied "No, and I don't plan to quit."

Pao's profile page still exists on the KPCB Web site. KPCB later explained in a statement that Pao remains an employee, but negotiations are underway to sever her ties to the firm due to performance issues.

"Because of longstanding issues having no relationship or bearing on the litigation, Kleiner approached Ms. Pao to facilitate her transition, over an extended period of time, out of the firm. 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," the statement read.

Pao's attorney, Alen Exelrod of Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe, confirmed her termination, and that she was asked not to come back to the office and transition off boards that she serves on for KPCB. "We view this as retaliation for her raising these issues and filing the lawsuit, and because she's a woman and the circumstances of the situation," Exelrod told AllThingsD.

Pao filed suit against the venture capital firm in California Superior Court on May 10, alleging that she endured five years of retaliation for rebuffing sexual advances from senior partners and that the company discriminated against her and other female employees when it came to promotions and pay.

Kleiner Perkins denied the discrimination charges, saying that Pao "twisted facts and events in an attempt to create legal claims where none exist." The VC's response also included Pao's annual performance reviews, which described her as "territorial," too "passive," and not a "good team player."

Founded in 1972, Kleiner Perkins is one of the most prominent venture capital firms in the Valley. It's famous for big hits such as Google, Amazon, Genentech, and Netscape, and more recently for working with Groupon and Zynga.

 

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