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Kleiner Perkins sued for gender discrimination, retaliation

May 22, 2012: 11:55 AM ET

Ellen Pao

FORTUNE -- Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has been sued by one of its own partners, Ellen Pao, for gender discrimination and retaliation.

In a complaint filed in California Superior Court, Pao accuses the firm of discriminating against female employees, particularly in terms of compensation and promotions, due to their gender.

She also alleges sexual harassment by a former Kleiner Perkins employee, Ajit Nazre, and that the response by firm management was insufficient.

Kleiner Perkins has issued the following statement:

In response to a discrimination complaint filed in the Superior Court of San Francisco by Ellen Pao, Christina Lee, a Kleiner Perkins spokesperson, stated the Firm regrets that the situation is being litigated publicly and had hoped the two parties could have reached resolution, particularly given  Pao's 7-year history with the firm. Following a thorough independent investigation of the facts, the firm believes the lawsuit is without merit and intends to vigorously defend the matter. The Firm has been a diversity pioneer in its industry and was one of the first venture capital firms to hire women as partners. The number of women partners at the firm is one of the highest within the venture capital arena and the firm has actively supported women in all respects.

More to come. In the meantime, here is the full suit:

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About This Author
Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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