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Judge to CMEA Capital: No arbitration for you

May 15, 2013: 11:43 AM ET

GavelSexual harassment case against VC firm can proceed.

FORTUNE -- Venture capital firm CMEA Capital has lost its motion to compel arbitration in a sexual harassment suit brought against it by three former female employees. The complaint, filed in March, also alleges racial harassment and retaliation.

The San Francisco Superior Court judge also agreed to seal compensation history of the three plaintiffs: Dawn-Shemain Weeks, Margaret Hines and Shannon Schlagenhauf. The defense is expected to argue that the lawsuit was brought only after CMEA Capital altered its overtime policy in a manner that reduced each plaintiff's annual compensation by tens of thousands of dollars.

A case management conference is now scheduled for July 10.

The arbitration request is common among investment partnerships like CMEA, which would prefer to keep such ugliness out of the public eye. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers did something similar when sued for gender discrimination last year by former partner Ellen Pao, but also saw its motion denied. Kleiner Perkins has since appealed that ruling, and has a case management conference scheduled for next month.

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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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