The Ellen Pao Trial: What Do We Mean By “Discrimination”?

Pao, a former junior partner at the Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, alleges that the firm discriminated against her. She is seeking sixteen million dollars in damages. Credit Photograph by Eric Risberg / AP Back in 1994, a trial in San Francisco Superior Court transfixed Silicon Valley. Three years earlier, a well-regarded partner at the Baker & McKenzie law firm, Martin R. Greenstein—the Times described him as “a swaggering bear of a man”—had gone out to lunch with colleagues. Outside of the restaurant, Greenstein had allegedly grabbed the breast of a legal secretary, Rena Weeks, dropped M&Ms down

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