The whole thing is over now. Ellen Pao said in an op-ed in Re/code today that she is dropping her appeal against her former employer, the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and moving on.
She said she will pay the court costs a court ruled she owes after losing a landmark gender discrimination case against the venture capital firm.
“Ultimately, I cannot afford to continue this battle and risk having to pay additional costs if I lose on appeal,” Pao wrote. “I already must pay Kleiner for its legal costs, as awarded by the court, plus 10 percent annual interest.”
“Forcing plaintiffs in civil rights actions to pay for defendants’ costs is just wrong,” Pao added.
A jury in San Francisco found in March that Kleiner Perkins was not liable in all claims of sex discrimination against Pao, its former employee. After the decision Kleiner Perkins sought legal costs amounting to roughly $865,000 from Pao, an amount a judge scaled back to about $276,000 in June, taking into account Pao’s ability to pay.
Pao writes that the court system in California isn’t well equipped to handle discrimination cases fairly. From the Re/code piece:
. . .to win in California court, discrimination has to be intentional and a substantial motivating factor for different treatment. This standard is vague and hard to prove; there could also be other factors like racial or age discrimination, personal animus or unconscious biases. These all add up to excuses that can prevent a finding of discrimination or retaliation.
Pao also claims that the gender selection process was influenced by the Kleiner Perkins side:
The deck is stacked against plaintiffs in other ways, as well. From the first day of trial, I saw how hard it was going to be to win when every potential juror who expressed a belief that sexism exists in tech — a belief that is widely recognized and documented — was not allowed to serve on the jury.
Pao had worked for Kleiner Perkins for seven years before she was fired in 2012. She filed a discrimination complaint against the firm in 2011, claiming that she was being held back from advancement in the firm at least in part because of her gender.