The case pits a single woman – Ellen Pao – against KPCB – one of the largest and most established venture capital firms in the country.
Yet, despite this huge discrepancy in power and money between the parties, yesterday Kleiner Perkins’ lawyer argued to the jury that Kleiner Perkins is really the victim here – not Ellen Pao.
Essentially, KPCB’s lawyer argued that Pao shouldn’t win because she is nothing but a money grubbing, ungrateful and offensive former employee who they justly fired because she was so hard to get along with no one wanted to work with her.
Thanks to Liz Gannes’ live blog over at Recode, here are a few of the quotes from KPCB’s closing argument:
“[Ellen Pao] made a determined, deliberate, sustained attack on Kleiner, and she made sure the press knew all about it.”
“[Ellen Pao] wanted the eight figures. When Kleiner Perkins refused to pay her, she filed this lawsuit. Not because she wanted an even playing field for women. None of it had anything to do with any woman but Ellen Pao.”
“This twisting of facts isn’t a new development . . . Beginning in the fall of 2011, while her job search wasn’t working out, Ellen Pao wanted the big payout.”
“As happens in a small workplace, [Ellen Pao’s] corrosive pattern of attack alienated her co-workers and led to tension and distrust.”
“The record here is crystal clear about [Ellen Pao’s] conflicts with others despite what you just heard, an attempt to dismiss them.”
Now admittedly Ms. Pao is not without financial resources. She has two graduate degrees from Harvard (including a law degree) as well as bachelors degree from Princeton and her annual compensation when she was fired from KPCB was ~ $560,000. She is currently Interim CEO of Reddit.
But by comparison to KPCB she is still David and KPCB is clearly Goliath.
So, what do you think? How persuaded are you by KPCB’s efforts to cast itself as the victim of a money grubbing, ungrateful employee? Is Ellen Pao one of those gold diggers Kanye West has warned us about?
About the Author: Lorene F. Schaefer, Esq. is an attorney and the President of Workplace Investigations Group, a nationwide network of employment attorneys who conduct impartial internal investigations and deliver training on how to conduct effective internal investigation that will withstand legal scrutiny. She is also the President of Win-Win Resolve, a consulting company founded by a group of employment attorneys to help businesses solve workplace conflict and compliance concerns at the lowest and earliest levels possible. Lorene is available nationwide as a workplace investigator and mediator.