A former employee of Facebook filed a lawsuit this week accusing the company of gender and racial discrimination as well as sexual harassment. What’s more, the woman is represented by lawyers who are also involved in another sexism case that is currently the talk of Silicon Valley.
Chia Hong, the former Facebook
employee who sued the social networking giant Monday, claims she suffered three years of harassment during stints as a program manager and technology partner. She alleges that she was wrongfully terminated in October 2013 after she complained about being harassed and discriminated against by her boss, Anil Wilson, and by dozens of other colleagues, based on her gender, race and Taiwanese nationality.
Facebook has denied Hong’s allegations.
“We work extremely hard on issues related to diversity, gender and equality, and we believe we’ve made progress,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “In this case we have substantive disagreements on the facts, and we believe the record shows the employee was treated fairly.”
Hong is represented by the San Francisco-based employment law firm Lawless & Lawless, which is also part of the legal team currently representing former venture capitalist Ellen Pao in her high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit against blue clip Silicon Valley investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Pao, who currently serves as interim CEO of Reddit, sued Kleiner Perkins in 2012 in a $16 million lawsuit in which she accuses the firm of gender discrimination for passing her over for promotions frequently during her time working at the firm.
The trial for Pao’s case started last month and has generated its fair share of national news coverage as the lawsuit plays into longstanding criticisms of Silicon Valley’s gender gap and the perception of the tech industry as a male-dominated environment.
Meanwhile, Hong’s lawsuit isn’t Facebook’s only current legal issue. Last week, a federal judge allowed a nationwide class-action lawsuit against the company to move forward. That suit involves the claims of plaintiffs, estimated to number in the hundreds of thousands, who are seeking refunds from Facebook for money their children spent on the website without parental permission.
(Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly state that Pao’s lawsuit accuses Kleiner Perkins of sexual harassment. The lawsuit alleges gender discrimination and workplace retaliation. The article has been corrected.)