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'I was asked to marry the man who was harassing me' says employee

The women's rights movement has made incredible strides over the past few decades, but it does not meant that the struggle is over. For many women, it is an individual struggle in a hostile work environment where they suffer sexual harassment and discrimination on a daily basis. In some employment situations, a woman has to prove herself with higher standards than her male counterparts.

At one venture-capital firm a woman claims that she has suffered personal harassment as well as company-wide gender discrimination. In one instance, she said that she was encouraged by a managing partner to enter into a marriage with the partner who consistently harassed her. She was also pressured into having a sexual relationship with a partner and then retaliated against when she couldn't handle it any longer.

It was not only a personal hostile work environment for the single employee. Of the 49 partners in the firm, the 12 women were described as "buzz kills" and put on a lower level than the 37 male partners. In blatant discrimination, the female employee said that not only were women discouraged from participation, but that the firm actually held male-only dinners.

Women partners not only were discouraged, but they were put down. The complaint stated that female partners were not given the same respect or allowed the same number of board seats in comparison to men. The women also received measurably smaller shares of profits according to the complaint. While the female employee must prove her case in court, even a portion of these accusations could be a basis for compensation.

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

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