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Sexual harassment, discrimination claims made against venture firm

Sexual harassment is unacceptable anywhere, but in a workplace environment it can create extremely disturbing dynamics amongst employees. Someone can feel violated or uncomfortable at work, and that doesn't just affect the victim -- it can permeate an entire office and split the workforce. For the victim, they can feel so offended and unsafe at their job that they feel they have nowhere to turn.

Everybody has a right to do their job free of unwanted sexual advances by coworkers. Without such a right, victims can feel like their only way out of the predicament is to quit. But thanks to these rights, employees who feel they are being violated can seek justice through a sexual harassment lawsuit.

This unfortunate situation faces a Venture-capital group in California, which is being sued by a woman who works there for both sexual harassment and discrimination. According to her suit, the atmosphere at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers was like a boys-only club, where women were called "buzz kills" and were not invited to certain events.

The woman also says she was sexually harassed by a co-worker and not only did management seemingly not take her concerns seriously, she was actually pushed to marry the person who was harassing her. The claims are staggering and, if proven to be true, are serious indictments of a company without any semblance of fair and equal treatment for all employees.

Her suit goes further, saying the firm does not equally promote men and women. Indeed, of the 49 partners at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, only 12 are women.

Source: Reuters, "Venture firm Kleiner moves to dismiss discrimination suit," Sarah McBride, June 14, 2012

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