A jury on Friday rejected Ellen Pao's claims of gender discrimination by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, in a case that riveted Silicon Valley for weeks and exposed how women fare in the male-dominated world of venture capital.
The verdict followed testimony by two dozen witnesses who variously painted Kleiner as unfriendly to women and Ms. Pao as a difficult employee. The jury dismissed Ms. Pao's claims that the firm where she worked for seven years valued and judged women and men according to different standards.
“If I’ve helped to level the playing field for women and minorities in venture capital, then the battle was worth it,” Ms. Pao said after Friday’s verdict.
The trial opened a rare window on the world of venture capital firms. Her case attracted attention not only for its sensational claims, but also because of Kleiner's stature.
Kleiner said in an e-mailed statement that the verdict reaffirmed that Ms. Pao’s claims had no merit.
“There is no question gender diversity in the workplace is an important issue,” the firm said. “KPCB remains committed to supporting women in venture capital and technology both inside our firm and within our industry.”
Kleiner says nine of its partners, or about 20%, are women. Managing Partner John Doerr said earlier this year the firm is “outperforming the rest of the industry when it comes to diversity.”
Ms. Pao sued in 2012, claiming she was subjected to a sexually charged atmosphere at Kleiner, preyed on by male colleagues, denied raises and promotions and sacked because she's female. Women at Kleiner were marginalized throughout her tenure, she said, excluded from outings on private jets to ski resorts, left out of important dinners with portfolio company executives and interrupted or ignored at meetings.