SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A jury reached a verdict Friday in a sexual discrimination lawsuit against a prestigious Silicon Valley venture capital firm that drew attention to gender imbalance and working conditions for women in Silicon Valley.
The verdict in the case filed by Ellen Pao against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers was expected to be read at 2 p.m. Pacific time, said Ann Donlan, a San Francisco Superior Court spokeswoman.
Jurors heard conflicting portraits of Pao during closing arguments.
Her attorneys said she was an accomplished junior partner who was passed over for a promotion then fired because the firm used different standards to judge men and women.
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A lawyer for Kleiner Perkins countered that Pao failed as an investor at the company and sued to get a big payout as she was being shown the door.
Kleiner Perkins also said Pao was a chronic complainer who twisted facts and circumstances in her lawsuit and had a history of conflicts with colleagues that contributed to the decision to let her go.
A study introduced as evidence showed that women are grossly underrepresented as partners in the venture capital sector.
Industry consultants said the case sparked some technology and venture companies to re-examine their cultures and practices for potential gender bias.
Jurors were asked to decide whether Kleiner Perkins discriminated against Pao because she is a woman; failed to take reasonable steps to prevent that discrimination; and retaliated against her after she complained about gender bias by failing to promote her and then firing her.
The jury also was tasked with deciding what, if any, money Pao should receive for past and future lost earnings, and whether she is eligible for any punitive damages.