Ellen Pao, the former junior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, announced yesterday that she would not appeal against the verdict last March that found that the venture capital firm did not discriminate and retaliate against her, according to Recode.
“I have decided to end my lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins,” Pao said in a statement. “I feel gratified that my actions have encouraged others to speak up about discrimination in venture capital and technology more broadly.”
Pao filed her lawsuit in 2012, alleging that she was passed up for promotions because of her gender and that senior members of the company retaliated against her when she spoke out about it, which ultimately led to her being fired. Pao sought $16 million in damages from Kleiner Perkins but lost all four claims after a month long trial.
After her loss, Kleiner Perkins requested that Pao reimburse the $1 million it spent on legal fees but offered to drop its demands if she chose not to appeal. A judge later reduced the company's request to $276,000 - which carried a 10 percent annual interest - mostly to cover the cost of the firm’s expert witnesses in the suit.
“I think it is wrong that employees have to pay in this situation, but I simply cannot afford the risks of more costs to fight a firm with massive PR and legal resources,” she said. “The court system is not set up to create an even playing field.”
In her post, Pao accused Kleiner Perkins of using a PR campaign to influence the media against her, and claimed that stories written about her on the internet influenced jurors in her trial. Pao added that she did not settle with Kleiner Perkins because she didn’t want to be prevented from speaking about the case. "Settlement might have provided me with financial benefits, but only at the great cost of silence," Pao said. "I refuse to be silent on these important issues."
Pao is also widely known from her time as interim CEO of Reddit which lasted from November 2014 to July this year. She resigned after a petition calling for her to step down gained 200,000 signatures following complaints over the way she was running the site.
In a statement on Thursday, Kleiner Perkins said it was relieved to put an end to the dispute. "We are glad to put this trial behind us," a spokesperson said. "There is no question diversity in the workplace is an important issue. KPCB remains committed to supporting women and minorities in venture capital and technology both inside our firm and within our industry."