Ellen Pao announced today that she will be dropping her appeal against the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins and paying her former employer's legal costs for her highly-publicized gender discrimination lawsuit. "I am now moving on," Pao wrote in a lengthy personal statement on Recode.
Court documents show that Pao's legal team was still filing requests related to the appeal since at least late August. Her lawsuit was initially filed in 2012. Pao sought $16 million in damages for failing to promote her to senior partner, as well as retaliation when she complained about discrimination and earlier incidents of sexual harassment from a senior partner at the firm. The statute of limitations for filing discrimination and harassment claims in California is a year. "My experience shows how difficult it is to address discrimination through the court system," she wrote.
In her discursive statement, Pao takes aim at a legal system stacked against defendants as well as her difficulty getting a fair trial in such a obsessively-covered case. The bulk of Pao's statement focuses on the tremendous resources Kleiner spent on influencing perception of her claims both inside and outside the courtroom. The powerful venture capital firm has invested in companies like Twitter, Uber, and Google. The spectacle of the trial became a symbol for entrenched gender inequality issues in Silicon Valley.
I have a request for all companies: Please don't try to silence employees who raise discrimination and harassment concerns. Instead allow balanced and complete perspectives to come out publicly so we can all learn and improve. I and many others are eager to hear more stories being shared by women and minorities. I turned down offers to settle so I can keep telling mine. We need to keep telling our stories and educating people on how it can be that women and minorities form such a small fraction of our investor base, our tech workforce and our leadership.