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Venture-capital firm tries to dismiss sex discrimination lawsuit

Working for a venture-capital firm can mean having to be aggressive in a cutthroat environment, regardless of your gender. But if you work for a firm that allegedly considers women to be "buzz kills," it can be understandably hard to get ahead as a woman.

Those in Minnesota who have experience working in aggressive business environments probably understand the importance of professionalism in the workplace. But a recent news story brings to light alleged unprofessional and possibly discriminatory conduct that made it hard for one worker to succeed. This conduct has led to a sex discrimination lawsuit against the California venture-capital firm.

A woman, who has worked as a partner for at least the last five years, claims she raised concerns several times to different partners and human resources personnel about the issues she was facing. Her lawsuit described a situation where a managing partner encouraged her to marry another partner that was allegedly harassing her.

According to her lawsuit, she was not happy with the way she was being treated by male partners. She claimed the firm gave male-only dinners, women got smaller shares of profits at the firm, and that female junior partners got fewer board seats in the firm compared to males. She also felt that the firm promoted men more often than women. The firm's response was that she was not promoted due to "performance flaws" that were cited in her review. The woman is currently still employed with the firm.

The firm, which is denying "each and every material allegation," is seeking dismissal of the discrimination lawsuit.

Source: Reuters, "Venture firm Kleiner moves to dismiss discrimination suit," Sarah McBride, June 13, 2012

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