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Former Facebook Employee Sues for Sex Discrimination, Harassment

Chia Hong has retained the same lawyers representing Ellen Pao.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A former Facebook employee is suing the company for a number of claims, including sex discrimination, harassment and race/national origin discrimination, according to a lawsuit filed with the San Mateo County Superior Court Monday.

Chia Hong, who worked at Facebook from June 2010 to October 2013, was treated differently during her time at the company because of her race and gender, according to court documents. She was ultimately terminated in 2013, the documents say.

Hong claims that she was “belittled” at work, and was asked at one point “why she did not just stay home and take care of her children.” She also claims that she was punished for taking time off to volunteer at her child’s school, and “ordered to organize parties and serve drinks to male colleagues,” something that wasn’t in her job description.

A Facebook spokesperson denied the allegations.

“We work extremely hard on issues related to diversity, gender and equality, and we believe we’ve made progress,” the spokesperson said in a statement provided to Re/code. “In this case we have substantive disagreements on the facts, and we believe the record shows the employee was treated fairly.”

Hong is represented by Lawless and Lawless, the San Francisco firm also representing former Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers venture partner Ellen Pao in her gender discrimination case against the VC firm.

That suit has created quite a buzz in Silicon Valley, where gender equality has been an issue for some time. It has been speculated that Pao’s trial might encourage other women to come forward with similar claims. The ruling in the Pao case, which hasn’t been decided, will surely serve as a precedent for others down the line.

Hong is seeking a jury trial and punitive damages.

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