In this age, it is hard to believe that sexual harassment incidences still happen within workplaces. It can also be surprising if such cases happen in high-profile technology companies like Yahoo Inc.
A top-ranking Yahoo executive is now facing a sexual harassment complaint filed in a court in California by her former employee. Yahoo Mobile senior director of engineering Maria Zhang was recently sued by former employee Nan Shi. The latter works as principal software engineer in the company beginning February 2013.
The legal complaint was filed last July 8 in the Superior Court in Santa Clara in San Jose, California. The complainant is accusing her former superior of sexual harassment. She also complained of what she thinks as illegal or wrongful employment termination.
Alleged sexual advances
Shi alleged that Zhang coerced her to have oral as well as digital sex with her, not just once but several times. The complainant claims that her former boss assured her that she would have a ‘bright future’ at the company if she would agree to have sex with Zhang. Obviously, this may suggest that Zhang is a lesbian.
The complainant also accused Zhang of intentionally and unfairly lowering her performance reviews for second and third quarter evaluations in 2013. Shi said this was obviously because of her refusal to give in to the sexual advances of her boss.
In the lawsuit, Shi also alleges that Yahoo’s human resources department did not conduct an appropriate probe about her complaint. The complainant added that she filed the necessary complaints in the company level against her supervisor’s unlikely advances.
Yahoo’s alleged inaction
However, instead of doing the investigation, Yahoo allegedly put Shi on unpaid leave. Eventually, she was terminated from her employment with the company. Consequently, Shi is asking for monetary and punitive damages. The legal complaint also accuses and names Yahoo as one of the defendants.
A Yahoo representative assured the press people that the company and Zhang would step up to defend their names. The person also asserted that Zhang is an exemplary executive and that Yahoo would stand by her side.
Zhang got into Yahoo when the mobile business she founded, called Alike, was acquired by the company in 2013. Before that, she was an executive at Zillow and Microsoft Corp, according to her own LinkedIn profile.