Ellen Pao

Ellen Pao Won't Appeal Gender Discrimination Trial Verdict

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Ellen Pao, the former venture capitalist who lost a high-profile discrimination case against her former employer earlier this year, said on Thursday that she would not pursue an appeal of the court's decision.

Her lawsuit against one of the best-known U.S. venture firms, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, helped spark a wide and ongoing discussion about gender and the U.S. technology industry.

"I've decided that I want to move forward," Pao told Reuters Thursday. "I’ve made an impact. People heard my story. This case has been part of a wave of change that I didn’t predict."

She and Kleiner have not reached any agreement to settle in the matter, largely because the firm would require a non-disparagement provision as part of any deal. She is still on the hook for some legal fees, she said.

If she had more funds, she said, "it would have made it easier" to move forward with an appeal.

Pao said her standing at Kleiner Perkins crumbled after she ended a brief affair with a partner. Her career deteriorated after he and Kleiner Perkins started retaliating against her in a climate that was unfriendly toward women overall, her lawyers said.

She filed her lawsuit in 2012.

In April, a jury sided with Kleiner and against Pao, who by then was working as chief executive officer of Reddit. She was forced to resign from the news and discussion forum in July over disagreements about growth.

If Pao had appealed, California's First District Court of Appeal would have heard the case.

Of 49 decisions involving discrimination and retaliation over the past two years until April, the First District affirmed 26 of the 31 where the employer won in the trial court, or 84 percent, according to Westlaw data. Only five cases were reversed.

San Francisco-based Pao said she was now advising some start-up entrepreneurs, making early-stage investments and spending more time with her family.

(Reporting by Sarah McBride; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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