SAN FRANCISCO – A judge has ruled one of Silicon Valley’s oldest venture capital firms must fight a gender bias and retaliation lawsuit in open court.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn on Friday denied Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & Byers’ request to move the lawsuit to arbitration, which is typically litigated and decided behind closed doors.
Ellen Pao, a junior partner at the firm, filed the lawsuit on May 10 alleging Kleiner senior partners failed to stop a colleague from harassing her after she broke off a sexual relationship with him.
She further alleges the firm fostered a culture that made it difficult for women to advance at the same rate and pay as male colleagues.
Kleiner, Perkins has denied the allegation in court filings, alleging that Pao’s job performance, not her gender, held her back.