Ellen Pao and California Senate Point to a Huge Valley Harassment Problem

Ellen Pao has a new book coming out “Reset.” you might recall she was a poster child for Silicon Valley sexual harassment a few years ago in her lawsuit   against Kleiner Perkins which she ended up losing.

But back to her book. A fascinating excerpt follows:

Once we were airborne, the CEO, who’d brought along a few bottles of wine, started bragging about meeting Jenna Jameson, talking about her career as the world’s greatest porn star and how he had taken a photo with her at the Playboy Mansion. He asked if I knew who she was and then proceeded to describe her pay-per-view series (Jenna’s American Sex Star), on which women competed for porn-movie contracts by performing sex acts before a live audience.

“Nope,” I said. “Not a show I’m familiar with.”

Then the CEO switched topics. To sex workers. He asked Ted what kind of “girls” he liked. Ted said that he preferred white girls — Eastern European, to be specific.

Here is a good indication that the issue may become serious if we don’t self-police.

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson is planning to introduce a bill early next week to deter investors from taking advantage of entrepreneurs. Jackson’s legislation seeks to add to a California law, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits businesses from discriminating based on factors such as sex, race, religion and disabilities.

While the law explicitly states certain occupations, like doctor-patient relationships, or landlord-tenant, this amendment would specifically update to include the investor-entrepreneur relationship, too. 

No one wants additional regulation in their industry because regulation quite often has unintended consequences which harm the very people which are said to be helped. For example, if laws become stiffer against sexual harassment against women, Investors just won’t take pitches from females to ensure there is no potential for a lawsuit. Obviously this would also be a lose-lose situation for the tech industry who would have to spend a tremendous amount of additional money on litigation as women see their employment numbers actually decrease.

Last year, TMC launched awards to honor companies in the tech space in the following ways:

We are currently going through the Tech Culture Awards and evaluating the winners for 2017. In addition we have begun the process of evaluating the Tech Diversity applications.

There is some good news which we hope paves the way for the following statement to be accurate.

The best way to solve this problem is through competition.

In our applications, we ask many questions about diversity in the workplace and the results have been quite refreshing. Companies are seriously working on diversity activities – whether its mentoring in inner-cities or mandating a certain percentage of new applicants for jobs are minorities. Other companies have great rules about their culture which really foster an ideal environment for all workers.

Many of them also admit they are way behind where they would like to be.

We hope tech companies are changing their cultures and those of you who really want to stand out in a competitive hiring market, be sure to apply for the 2018 Tech Diversity Award – which we’ve opened early due to numerous requests.

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