03/13/13 | Uncategorized

More VC Law Suits: How Common Is Sexual Harassment?

Another three women have filed suit against CMEA Capital for sexual harassment. Was Ellen Pao just the tip of the iceberg?

By Jessica Stillman (Editor, Women 2.0)

Did Ellen Pao’s much chattered about allegations of sexual harassment against Kleiner Perkins last year empower other women who have experienced similar complaints to come forward? One has to wonder following the news last week that three former employees are suing CMEA Capital for sexual harassment.

The three executive assistants claim that John Haag, president and chief operating partner of the firm during their tenure, “behaved in sexually and racially inappropriate ways.” He denies the charges.

They’re not the only women in tech to make such accusations, according to Forbes, which notes that, “last month, Square COO Keith Rabois resigned after threats of a sexual harassment suit. He denied the charges and was later hired by Khosla Ventures.” The article also lays out much more detail about the women and the alleged misbehavior if you’re interested, while Fortune provides the entire suit for the real deep dive.

If you’re looking for the general tenor of the charges, BetaBeat pulls out some examples it claims “would make Don Draper blush,” including these gems:

During the drive, Defendant Haag mentioned that he had two female tenants. Defendant Haag then told Plaintiff that the female tenants sometimes leave their underwear in the dryer and that Defendant Haag liked to “sniff it.”

On another occasion, Defendant Haag asked the female Investor Relations employee whether they were aware that porn-stars bleach their anuses in order to make them more attractive.

Women 2.0 readers: Are these shocking allegations an indication of a broader cultural problem at VC firms?

About the writer: Jessica Stillman is a freelance writer with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She writes a daily column for Inc.com and has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist, among others. Follow her on Twitter at @entrylevelrebel.

Photo credit: steakpinball via Flickr.


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