A former Facebook employee is suing the social networking giant for alleged sex discrimination and harassment, discrimination and harassment based on race or national origin, and wrongful discharge from the company, among other charges.
In a lawsuit filed this week in San Mateo, plaintiff Chia Hong said that she started working at Facebook in June 2010, when she was hired as a program manager. In October 2012, the suit says, she was transferred to a Technology Partner role, and she was fired from the company a year later in October 2013.
Hong, who is Taiwanese, makes 11 separate legal claims in the suit, alleging that while at Facebook she suffered from discrimination and harassment based on her gender and her race and nationality, was retaliated against after she complained about such treatment, and was ultimately unlawfully fired from the company. She is also alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress.
In an email sent to TechCrunch today, a Facebook spokesperson disputed the claims with the following statement: “We work extremely hard on issues related to diversity, gender and equality, and we believe we’ve made progress. In this case we have substantive disagreements on the facts, and we believe the record shows the employee was treated fairly.”
The defendants in the suit are Facebook, a Facebook staffer named Anil Wilson, and 50 unnamed Facebook employees referred to anonymously as “defendant Doe.” The suit says that Wilson and Hong’s other coworkers regularly ignored or belittled her opinions at group meetings, asked her “why she did not just stay home and take care of her child instead of having a career,” and ordered her to organize parties and serve drinks to male colleagues, among other alleged actions. The suit also alleges that Hong was told that she was not integrated into her team at work “because she looks different and talks
differently than other team members” and was subsequently replaced “by a less qualified, less experienced Indian male.”
Hong is requesting compensatory damages including lost wages, earnings, retirement benefits and other employee benefits, as well as monetary damages for “mental pain and anguish and emotional distress,” additional punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.
Hong is represented by San Francisco law firm Lawless and Lawless, which is also one of the legal firms representing Ellen Pao in the ongoing gender discrimination suit against Kleiner Perkins.
Here is the suit in full: