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Gender Discrimination Lawsuits are Becoming More Prevalent in Silicon Valley

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Though Silicon Valley boasts some seriously powerful women (ahem, Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg and Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer), the tech bubble still has some very big issues that need to be worked out. Lately, an increasing number of women working at the biggest companies in this area have been suing their employers for gender discrimination. As a minority in a male-dominated industry, these women have felt they were unfairly denied promotions and even let go based on their gender.

Just this weekend, a California judged ruled that Ellen Pao, who is suing the venture capital firm she works at, could seek punitive damages from her company, which could end up amounting to tens of millions of dollars in lost wages and bonuses, according to the New York Times. In a similar vein, a former Twitter software engineer is suing the company over the vague procedure it follows for employee promotions. Tina Huang, who left Twitter in June, alleges that secret management committees make promotional decisions, which in turn allows for a "gender imbalance in Twitter's technical workforce," according to Mashable.

Though Pao's and Huang's gender discrimination cases stem from issues concerning job promotions, a case involving Facebook points to other matters. Chia Hong was fired from the multi-billion dollar company back in 2013, but her lawsuit against the company is still in the works. According to the Times, Hong faced discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Aside from asserting that her termination was a result of her gender and Taiwanese descent, Hong alleges that she was belittled, reprimanded for taking time off to see her child and even "ordered to serve drinks to male colleagues" at parties she had to organize.

While there are always two sides to a case, the allegations put forth by these women are unnerving. We're hoping the industry as a whole gets its act together soon!


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