The woman who lost her high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit against a Silicon Valley venture capital firm said Thursday that she is dropping her appeal and ending the case that became a flashpoint on inequality in the tech industry.
Ellen Pao said in a statement that she cannot afford the risk of incurring additional costs to fight Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. She said she had not reached any settlement with the firm and will pay some of the firm’s legal fees. A judge has ordered Pao to pay Kleiner Perkins $275,000 in legal fees.
“This battle has been painful for me personally and professionally, and also for my family,” Pao said. “It is time to move on. I look forward to continuing the conversation about workplace equality and to building great companies in the technology industry.”
A jury in March found that Kleiner Perkins did not discriminate or retaliate against Pao when it fired her in 2012.
The case came amid an ongoing discussion about gender inequity at elite technology and venture capital firms, where women are grossly underrepresented.
Kleiner Perkins said in a statement that it was glad to put the trial behind it.
“There is no question diversity in the workplace is an important issue. KPCB remains committed to supporting women and minorities in venture capital and technology both inside our firm and within our industry,” the company said.
During the trial, Kleiner Perkins attorney Lynne Hermle tried to portray Pao as someone just interested in money. She said Pao failed as an investor at the company and sued to get a big payout as she was being shown the door. Pao recently left her position as interim CEO of online discussion forum and news site Reddit.
Pao’s attorneys said she was an accomplished junior partner who was passed over for a promotion because the firm used different standards to judge men and women and that she was fired when she complained about discrimination.
Pao told jurors that her lawsuit was intended in part to create equal opportunities for women in the venture capital sector.