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Kleiner Perkins: Why we fired Ellen Pao

November 25, 2013: 2:21 PM ET

Venture capital firm says that it fired partner for poor performance, not as retaliation for gender discrimination suit.

131125142317-ellen-pao-kpcb-620xaFORTUNE -- Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is disputing accusations that it fired Ellen Pao last year as retaliation for her gender discrimination lawsuit against the firm. Instead, Kleiner Perkins says in new court documents that Pao was terminated for "long standing performance issues."

Pao originally filed suit in May 2012, alleging that Kleiner Perkins had discriminated against female employees, particularly on issues of compensation and promotions, due to their gender. She also alleged that the firm's response to sexual harassment by a fellow partner was insufficient. Pao continued to work for the firm until that October, when she was let go. One year later, she amended her initial complaint to include a retaliation charge related to her termination.

RELATED: A tale of money, sex and power

In its original reply, Kleiner Perkins had detailed performance deficiencies that it says were the root cause of Pao's inability to be promoted at the same rate as some of her male colleagues. It reiterated those points in its revised response, but does not provide any additional information that would explain why Pao was fired in October 2012 rather than in, say, October 2011.

A trial had been scheduled to begin this coming May, but both sides requested additional time. A case management conference is currently set for January 29.

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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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