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Facebook Sued For Gender Discrimination

A former Facebook employee is alleging mistreatment in another high-profile discrimination case in Silicon Valley.

Facebook Sued For Gender Discrimination
[Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

Former Facebook employee Chia Hong is taking the social network to court for alleged gender discrimination, racial discrimination, and sex harassment, in a lawsuit filed Monday.

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The complaint states that Hong’s boss, Anil Wilson, engaged in “a pattern and practice of harassment,” including (but not limited to) ignoring her opinions when she was the only female in meetings, ordering her to organize parties and serve drinks where no other male coworkers were asked to, telling her she wasn’t integrated with the team because she “looks different and acts different,” and “asking plaintiff why she did not just stay home and take care of her child instead of having a career.”

From the complaint:

[Hong] was in a vulnerable position because of her relative lack of power, because of her reliance on defendants’ assurances and forbearance of the possibility of becoming employed elsewhere, because she had placed her trust in defendants, because she depended on her employment for her self esteem and sense of belonging, because she relied upon her employment as a source of income for her support, because a wrongful termination of plaintiffs employment would likely harm plaintiffs ability to find other employment, and because of the great disparity in bargaining power between plaintiff and her employer. Defendants were aware of plaintiffs vulnerability and the reasons for it.

Hong was terminated on October 17, 2013.

She is represented by the same law firm handling the Ellen Pao vs. Kleiner Perkins case, another high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit playing out in Silicon Valley currently.

As Mother Jones points out, Facebook’s diversity numbers are vanilla at best: 69% of their employees are male, with 57% white and 34% Asian, according to their report in June.

Whether or not Hong’s allegations are founded, they sound too familiar to many women in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, struggling to stand out or stay afloat in boys’ club boardrooms.

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Freelance tech, science and culture writer. Find Sam on the Internet: @samleecole.

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