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Female Yahoo Exec Sued for Sexual Harassment

Female Yahoo Exec Sued for Sexual Harassment
The Yahoo! headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, in May 2014. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

The female-female lawsuit is a departure from recent, prominent male-female sexual harassment complaints

A female Yahoo executive has been sued for sexual harassment and wrongful termination by another female employee.

Nan Shi, a principal software engineer, accused her direct supervisor, Maria Zhang, a senior engineering director for Yahoo Mobile, of allegedly pressuring Shi on multiple instances into having oral and cyber-sex in exchange for a “bright future” at Yahoo, according to Reuters.

Filed on July 8 in a California court, Shi’s complaint also accuses Zhang of unfairly downgrading her performance reviews in the second and third quarters of 2013. The suit additionally alleges that Yahoo’s human resources team did not conduct an investigation after Shi complained of her boss’ remarks. Instead, Shi was put on unpaid leave and her employment eventually terminated.

Yahoo, which is also listed as a defendant in the complaint, denies Shi’s allegations.

“There is absolutely no basis or truth to the allegations against Maria Zhang. Maria is an exemplary Yahoo executive and we intend to fight vigorously to clear her name,” a Yahoo representative told TIME in an email.

Zhang joined Yahoo in its Sunnyvale, California, headquarters in February 2013 after Yahoo acquired her company, Alike, a mobile location-based product and content recommendation service, according to Zhang’s LinkedIn. Shi had been the first employee at Zhang’s company, and also moved to Yahoo after the acquisition, according to Shi’s LinkedIn.

The lawsuit is a shift from prominent, recent sexual harassment cases which have generally involved male defendants. On June 30, Tinder’s former marketing vice president, Whitney Wolfe, sued the dating app for discrimination and sexual harassment, accusing co-founder Justin Mateen of stripping her co-founder title because having a “24-year-old girl” made Tinder “seem like a joke.” In another suit filed on June 2, Donald Sterling’s former personal assistant, Maiko Maya King, accused the basketball team owner of racial discrimination and sexual harassment.

However, Shi’s case is not entirely without precedent: In January 2013, a sexual harassment lawsuit involving two women was filed by an Armani employee accusing her boss of unwanted sexual advances.

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