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Female Yahoo Executive Sued for Sexual Harassment…by Another Woman

July 14, 2014 Legal Team

Maria Zhang, a senior director of engineering, is named in a lawsuit against the internet mogul company for sexual harassment filed by one of her subordinates, Nan Shi. Zhang was Shi’s direct supervisor.

In California, there are two categories of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. In the former, the harasser is the claimant’s supervisor or direct report and therefore has the ability to promise benefits in exchange for sexual favors. If denied, then the harasser can take away benefits and/or employment. In the latter, if an employee rebuffs the harasser’s advances, and then the harasser turns vindictive, it may constitute a hostile work environment.

Shi is alleging both kinds of sexual harassment against the executive. According to the complaint, Shi was coerced by Zhang to engage in “oral and digital” sex with her. This was all done against Shi’s will. The defendant purportedly promised Shi a “bright future” at Yahoo but also threatened that she could “take everything away” for not engaging with her.

When Shi attempted to report Zhang to Yahoo’s human resources, she was allegedly retaliated against by both the human resources office and Zhang. Zhang assigned her subpar assignments and doled out poor performance reviews. The human resources office ignored Shi and denied her a proper investigation. Shi was eventually fired.

Yahoo spoke against the lawsuit, stating that “there is absolutely no basis or truth” to the complaints and that the executive is an “exemplary Yahoo executive.” Yahoo will “fight vigorously to clear her name.”

Source: CNN Money