Jury clears Kleiner Per­kins in discrimination suit

A San Francisco jury Friday afternoon found that sex discrimination allegations lodged against Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers in a high-profile lawsuit filed by former employee Ellen Pao were without merit.

The lawsuit against the Menlo Park venture capital firm, filed on May 10, 2012, suggested that Pao’s gender was a factor in the firm’s decision not to promote her and that it was also a factor the firm considered when deciding to terminate her. Additionally, the lawsuit alleged the firm did not take reasonable steps to prevent gender discrimination and retaliated against her.

According to San Francisco County Superior Court spokeswoman Ann E. Donlan, the 12 jurors in the case initially came into the courtroom around 2 p.m. today to deliver their verdict, but were sent back out to deliberate after inadequately answering a question on the verdict form.

The jury also asked Judge Harold D. Kahn to clarify a question on the verdict form, which he did. Around 4 p.m., the jury, consisting of six men and six women, returned and declared that they did not agree with any of the allegations lodged by Pao against the firm.

Pao exited the court room and said she appreciated the support that everyone had expressed during the trial:

“I have told my story and thousands of people have heard it. If I’ve helped to level the playing field for women and minorities, then the battle was worth it.”