Yahoo Exec Faces Sexual Harassment Charges From Former Employee
Here's the latest sexual harassment scandal out of Silicon Valley: A former Yahoo employee filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against a female Yahoo executive on Friday, claiming she was forced into sex as a way to help her career at the tech company. The former employee, principal software engineer Nan Shi, alleges in the complaint that mobile exec Maria Zhang gave her a poor performance review when she ended their sexual relations.
According to The San Jose Mercury News, Yahoo has been named as a defendant in the lawsuit, which was filed in Santa Clara Superior Court in San Jose, California. In addition to sexual harassment, the lawsuit names intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful termination as damages.
The complaint alleges:
The complaint adds that Zhang allegedly forced Shi to work "grueling hours" and made her "compose work emails over the weekend ... sometimes right after sex." When Shi notified Yahoo of the harassment that took place this spring, she was reportedly put on unpaid leave. Her position at the company was later terminated.
Prior to joining Yahoo in 2013, Zhang was the CEO of startup Alike, which Yahoo acquired last year. Zhang and Shi lived together in an apartment provided by Yahoo. According to Shi, much of the sexual harassment occurred there. She told The Mercury News in an interview:
According to Reuters, Yahoo is denying Shi's sexual harassment claims and is sticking by Zhang. "There is absolutely no basis or truth to the allegations against Maria Zhang," a Yahoo spokesperson told Reuters via email. "Maria is an exemplary Yahoo executive and we intend to fight vigorously to clear her name."
This is just the latest sexual harassment allegation to hit Silicon Valley. Tinder, the dating app company, recently faced sexual harassment and sex discrimination charges from former VP and cofounder, Whitney Wolfe. In her lawsuit, Wolfe alleged that members of the company called her a "whore" and routinely subjected her to degrading and offensive emails full of misogynist and racist slurs. The Tinder lawsuit, which describes the company's "frat-like" culture in detail, can be read here.