Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Businesses The Courts IT

Win Or Lose, Discrimination Suit Is Having an Effect On Silicon Valley 349

SpzToid sends word that the Ellen Pao vs. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers discrimination case wrapped up yesterday. No matter what the outcome turns out to be, it has already affected how business is being done in Silicon Valley. "'Even before there's a verdict in this case, and regardless of what the verdict is, people in Silicon Valley are now talking,' said Kelly Dermody, managing partner at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, who chairs the San Francisco law firm's employment practice group. 'People are second-guessing and questioning whether there are exclusionary practices [and] everyday subtle acts of exclusion that collectively limit women's ability to succeed or even to compete for the best opportunities. And that's an incredibly positive impact.' Women in tech have long complained about an uneven playing field — lower pay for equal work, being passed over for promotions and a hostile 'brogrammer' culture — and have waited for a catalyst to finally overhaul the status quo. This trial — pitting a disgruntled, multimillionaire former junior partner against a powerful Menlo Park, Calif., venture capital firm — was far from the open-and-shut case that many women had hoped for. More gender discrimination suits against big tech firms are expected to follow; some already have, including lawsuits against Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Win Or Lose, Discrimination Suit Is Having an Effect On Silicon Valley

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 26, 2015 @07:28PM (#49350831)

    Jeez.

  • Ellen Pao just accused John Doerr of KP of sexually harassing her when he gave her a print of "The Birth of Venus"

  • The only reason... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 26, 2015 @07:35PM (#49350889)

    The only reason I don't like to work with women is because of the insane sexual harassment laws and HR policies.

    As someone who happens to have been born with a penis, if I so much as smile the "wrong" way, I am instantly a creep, marked a sexual predator, fired, sued into oblivion, and my life ruined - all with everyone immediately believing the woman.

    Immediate vilification. There doesn't have be any supporting evidence, or a witness, or anything - I'm immediately bad, no matter what actually happened. It's worse than being declared guilty before being proven innocent; it's simply guilty, with no chance of being innocent.

    Women have ultimate power over the career of men. If a woman doesn't like someone, it's 1. Accuse, 2. Fired. Bam. Person gone. Any questions asked are merely procedural.

    I have seen this happen to a co-worker, so don't give me that "that never happens" crap. It does happen.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My ex-employer had a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment. Imagine this conversation:

      Jim: "Hey, Dave. Where's Mary? She's supposed to be at the status meeting."
      Dave: "She's got a cold and couldn't make it."

      Result of this conversation: Dave and Jim are fired. According to the employee handbook, Sexual Harassment is defined and includes "Mentioning a coworker in conversation that said coworker is not involved in."

      Seriously, how could anything get done? Can't even TALK about someone where they

    • The next time you are sexually harassed by a woman, feel free to point it out. If they don't follow the same procedure, sue them into oblivion.

      People claiming they're harassed have a lot of power even though most people bringing harassment lawsuits are bogus, because we as a society have decided it's important enough to prevent real harassment that we're willing to pay the price of having lots of spurious lawsuits.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      I've worked with many women and constantly smile at them, also never been sued into oblivion or accused of being a creep. I even asked one out once, didn't seem to be a problem.

      I think some guys are walking on egg shells all the time because they fear being accused of sexual harassment when actually there is very little danger. If it is as bad as you say where you work then your company has a serious problem. It might actually work out for you though because such insane policies are likely to be quite lucra

  • A multimillionare woman complains of being passed up for promotion? How rich are the guys (I assume they are guys. For all I know, they are also women) that got the promotion( if there was even a promotion to be had)?
  • by war4peace ( 1628283 ) on Thursday March 26, 2015 @07:44PM (#49350953)

    If you're a dickhead (pun not-intended), you'll be treated like a shithead.
    Sexual poetry book? Talk to the dude who gave it to you, tell him it's inappropriate. or go to HR (which is usually women-biased) and tell them you felt offended, they will talk tot he dude.
    Colleagues discussing pornography on a plane? Tell them to keep it quiet (add "please!" because it's polite) and they will stop. if they don't, do as above.
    Men tend to slip back to pseudo-savagery if women aren't around in a workplace for a while, and when a woman comes in, they tend do remain savage unless their eyes are opened. Don't pry their eyes open with a crowbar and acid, do it nicely and all's gonna be okay.
    As for the other "reasons", they're dumb and weak.
    A male partner touched your leg under a table? C'mon, really now. gender bias right there: imagine a male complaining about the same thing performed by a female: I bet everyone would laugh at him. but noo, when a woman experiences it, it's baaad, it's almost rape! Unacceptable!

    It looks like currently the appropriate action is "shut up and sue" rather than "talk to the offender, then HRm then escalate, then sue if issue isn't resolved and he continues".

    Here's something that happened at my workplace (which fields men and women almost in equal percentages). There was this new dude who had a rather unpolished character, swearing a lot, etc. One female colleague felt offended and went to HR. Another talked to him directly, in private and explained that he's crossing some lines. Dude got it, stopped, then a week later he's called to HR (follow-up from the first woman's complaint) and slammed with 10% pay cut for 3 months.
    After that, everyone (men and women alike) isolated themselves from that woman (socially) because they felt uneasy around her. One could never be sure that they might slip and say something that "offended" her somehow and end up being punished for some little thing they might not have realized.

    Being an arsehole swings both ways and can backfire.

    • Men tend to slip back to pseudo-savagery if women aren't around in a workplace for a while, and when a woman comes in, they tend do remain savage

      No, they really don't. They may make jokes and talk frankly about women, but guess what, women do the same thing about men. Are you calling women savages now?

    • by BronsCon ( 927697 ) <social@bronstrup.com> on Thursday March 26, 2015 @08:41PM (#49351283) Journal
      This.

      People need to (wo)man the fuck up and talk to each other, let them know where *your* lines are, and only escalate if they continue to *purposely* cross them. Don't be a knob about it and clarify your limits once, then escalate when they make some off the cuff remark a year later; learn to let things go once in a while, as we're all human and we all let things slip occasionally. Unless they're being purposely offensive to you and have made it clear they simply don't care if it bothers you (and they'll typically come right out and say as much to your face, so you don't have to read into things), you probably don't need to (and shouldn't) escalate things, because yes, that can and often do backfire. Sure, the person you complain about takes a pay cut, gets transferred out, or gets fired, but you become a social pariah around the workplace and nobody will have your back if anything actually does happen.

      TL;DR: Be nice. Think twice.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      A male partner touched your leg under a table? C'mon, really now. gender bias right there: imagine a male complaining about the same thing performed by a female: I bet everyone would laugh at him. but noo, when a woman experiences it, it's baaad,

      Depends on the situation, doesn't it? If the guy was married he might be pretty upset. If he is interested in the women he might not. In any case men are more likely to keep quiet about it because they are afraid of looking weak if they complain, because you know, macho nonsense and all that. That's what people mean when they talk about deconstructing masculinity - it's okay to complain about unacceptable behaviour, it's the right thing to do.

      It looks like currently the appropriate action is "shut up and sue" rather than "talk to the offender, then HRm then escalate, then sue if issue isn't resolved and he continues".

      According to undisputed court testimony Pao did complain multiple

  • Regardless of the outcome, it will continue to be socially acceptable to make fun of nerds, and The Big Bang Theory will still be America's #1 sitcom. I certainly don't participate in any "brogrammer" culture, but I can't feel sorry for it having an impact on the very people who fostered it in the first place. You may have the same right as I do to sit down and eat, but using bully tactics to win a seat at the lunch table isn't going to earn you any respect.
  • by redelm ( 54142 ) on Thursday March 26, 2015 @08:10PM (#49351117) Homepage

    Just what can you reasonably expect? Most programmers have been emotionally hurt repeatedly by women (much fewer by men) so it is natural they form protective shells (no not `bash`, the other kind). Yes, that does tar all women with one brush but all men are equally tarred by the misbehaviours of a small minority.

    As for discrimination, I personally consider it cowardly -- fair competition, and let the best [wo]man win.

  • It will encourage high tech companies in general and venture capital firms in specific to:

    A). Locate their businesses in a state (like Texas) where Social Justice Warrior [battleswarmblog.com]-type lawsuits have little chance to succeed.
    B). More carefully screen potential employees for Social Justice Warrior tendencies so as to minimize the chance of future lawsuits.

    Businesses exist to make money, they don't exit for believers in victimhood identity politics to wage politics and cash in at their expense.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      Or, you know, they could just stop discriminating and avoid lawsuits that way. Seems easier than trying to screen for people who might sue them, which itself may fall foul of discrimination laws if they start asking about certain aspects of that person's life.

  • by trout007 ( 975317 ) on Thursday March 26, 2015 @08:10PM (#49351121)

    This also makes it more risky for companies to hire women. They need to increase the HR budget to make sure there is plenty of data to back up promotions. This is a very subjective area. Especially for a company like this one where I seriously doubt anyone is a slacker. It's like trying to judge between all 4.0 students. You have to look at things that are impossible to measure.

    I'm not saying if she is right or wrong.

  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tsotha ( 720379 ) on Thursday March 26, 2015 @08:10PM (#49351123)

    People are second-guessing and questioning whether there are exclusionary practices [and] everyday subtle acts of exclusion that collectively limit women's ability to succeed or even to compete for the best opportunities. And that's an incredibly positive impact.

    Are people really that stupid? Huge payouts in these sorts of lawsuits isn't going to demonstrate to companies they should spend all their time policing their "everyday subtle acts". It's going to convince them women are legally dangerous and shouldn't be hired at all. It's a hell of a lot harder to bring a suit against a company that never hires you than against one for which you're employed, and business owners know this.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      If a company never hires women it's pretty easy to catch them in a sting where you send two more or less identical CVs, one with a woman's name and one with a man's. If the women's is rejected and the man gets an interview it's lawsuit time.

      The only way to avoid being sued for discrimination is to stop discriminating, not to do more of it.

  • by Shadow of Eternity ( 795165 ) on Thursday March 26, 2015 @08:36PM (#49351259)

    In fact women of great standing within tech have long said the exact [linuxjournal.com] opposite [forbes.com] and that it's the constant lies and fearmongering from Social Justice types convincing people there's a wage gap that doesn't [qz.com] exist [smithsonianmag.com].

    There's a word for when someone uses fear and lies to control someone else's behavior for their own gain. Generally we call that an abusive relationship.

    • There's a word for when someone uses fear and lies to control someone else's behavior for their own gain. Generally we call that an abusive relationship.

      Sounds like most employer/employee relations nowadays.

      • Sounds a lot like what modern Social Justice does to women. Uses lies to spread fear stir up mass hysteria, then convinces people they can't live without it, and if anyone stands up for themselves or tries to leave they're either guilt-tripped or outright terrorized.

        • In this journal entry I posit that SJWs 15 minutes of fame is almost over [slashdot.org]. There's some arguments going on there for both sides (ok, all sorts of sides).

          SJWs have shown themselves to be trolls looking for emotional, rather than rational, reactions. Probably because it's not all that exciting to try to actually solve the problems via calm discussions, and it doesn't get them the attention their egos crave.

          They've done everyone on both sides of the gender divide a disservice by polarizing people. Fortunatel

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <<jcr> <at> <mac.com>> on Thursday March 26, 2015 @08:52PM (#49351335) Journal

    This is a woman who fucked a married colleague, has a history of being abrasive, and thinks she's entitled to get paid more than Tim Cook earns in a year.

    -jcr

  • Sometimes cliques form for various reasons including a desire to get friends or family members hired into new openings or to simply create an illusion that workers in the clique are superior workers and they do that by targeting individuals. As these cliques often make false complaints to managers it can appear that the firm is the one holding back the victim. When loss of job or failure to get raises or promotions takes place the firm is often the one that pays in court. Management may never kno
  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Thursday March 26, 2015 @08:57PM (#49351355) Homepage Journal

    "Even before there's a verdict in this case, and regardless of what the verdict is, people in Silicon Valley are now talking," said Kelly Dermody, managing partner at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, who chairs the San Francisco law firm's employment practice group.

    "People are second-guessing and questioning whether there are exclusionary practices [and] everyday subtle acts of exclusion that collectively limit women's ability to succeed or even to compete for the best opportunities. And that's an incredibly positive impact."

    Which people? I'm in Silicon Valley, unlike people who work in San Francisco.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 26, 2015 @09:25PM (#49351473)

    In the mid 2000's, I worked as a first level manager in a well-known tech firm everyone here would recognize by name. (Hint: it's one of the parties to the anti-poaching lawsuit who hasn't settled yet) I had a handful of subordinates, up to six at a time, perhaps a dozen total over three years, including two minority females. Mind you, all of my team were competent, technically proficient, and generally not problem employees. But each year at Ranking and Rating, there was a pointed questioning, only about the minority female technical employees, that was HR-driven. "What is your justification for not ranking this employee higher?" "What are you doing to make sure that this employee is promotion-ready next year?" On the basis of those directed questioning, one of the minority women was given a specific high-profile task by my manager, which she completed competently. On the basis of that task that was steered to her based on her gender and skin color, she was promoted. To the best of my knowledge, she has no idea that she was treated favorably; I know I never told her.

    The other was when a minority female candidate was identified late in the process for a very weirdly specific job opening I had. I had identified three decent candidates, all of whom happened to be white males, interviewed them all, and made an offer to the top candidate before HR found this new resume for me. My department was given an extra FTE from magical goodness-knows-where to interview and extend an offer to this lady. You NEVER get free headcount--but I did. So, we interviewed her, but found she had already accepted another offer from another (non-competitor) firm. I was then authorized to beat their offer to get her on our team, and did. So, we ended up with an extra person to do the job, and life was very good for a while, since she turned out to be an even better fit for the job than the white guy we were already in the process of hiring.

    Again, over the course of the several years I knew them, both of these women were middle- to top performers among a bunch of other technical specialists, but NEVER have I seen any white male bent-over-for like these two were.

    • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

      I wish some of these social justice types would imagine your story with your employer favoring the white males instead, and then realize the hypocrisy in their politics.

  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Thursday March 26, 2015 @10:40PM (#49351831)

    I find it interesting we are bashing tech (AGAIN).

    If you look at the Fortune 500, there are 5.2% women CEOs.
    If you look at the Fortune 500 tech companies, there are 8% women CEOs.
    If you look at the Fortune 500 non-tech companies, there are 2.8% women CEOs.

    (1) Tell me again how this is a tech problem, and not a systemic problem.
    (2) Tell me again that tech is not on the right trajectory, compared to all other businesses.
    (3) Tell me again how tech is not more progressive than every other business sector.

    By all means, lets go back to bashing tech, the only place where this social issue is being redressed in any meaningful fashion. I'm sure there will be absolutely no backlash from beating them up over something they are actually doing something about, while giving everyone else who is doing *NOTHING* about the issue is given a pass.

    It's not like tech is full of people who are familiar with how bullying works... the actual bullies *ALWAYS* get a pass.

    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      I have seen in digg (which is also driving a pro-feminist agenda but I digress), articles about employees not being promoted to management because they were women. well I also have not been promoted in many places, and never complained it was because I had a penis. Do I need to explain it to you? Maybe because I have a CV that his long, and quite an unusual experience, I have never experienced bullying on the field, and never witnessed it too. I also have some female friends in the industry, and fact is the
      • The bullying comment was specifically in reference to the press bullying tech over something tech is already more cognizant of than any other industrial segment.

        In terms of personal bullying, I think a lot of people who enter tech were bullied when they were younger, which has driven them towards technical pursuits, where they are less likely to have to associate with the general population. Perhaps, by implication, more young women should be bullies to address the STEM imbalance? I would not suggest that

        • by ruir ( 2709173 )
          check and check about being bullied in the past and the gym comment. I was bullied in school by a couple of colleagues, one of them slightly retarded and twice my size, and one day I was so full of it, I broke my fist on that giant face. Nobody ever bothered me that year anymore. The year after I went to a private school and there they were much more friendly.
  • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @12:17AM (#49352143)

    Win or lose, merit or nonsense the lawyers always win.

  • Maybe they write up crazy job descriptions that almost no one can fill out of a false estimation of what they need?

Disc space -- the final frontier!

Working...