Assault suit against CEO of BetterWorks stalls his book release

Assault suit against CEO of BetterWorks stalls his book release

Posted by M.Venkatesh on July 18th 2017

Sexual harassment and sexism which raises its ugly head on and off in  many women's lives, especially in the start-up world has seen another case of assault reported  in the Silicon Valley. In a report published in Bloomberg, book publishing company Penguin Random House put on hold its plans to publish a book which was co-written by venture capitalist John Doerr and a San Francisco based HR start-up - BetterWorks Systems Inc. CEO, Kris Duggan.

Beatrice Kim, a former employee at BetterWorks and two other executives at the start-up, filed a complaint against Duggan for allegedly assaulting her in a sexual manner during a company retreat. The suit alleges that the “Plaintiff experienced a hostile working environment based on gender while working at BetterWorks, enduring vulgar and graphic jokes and comments about women, rape, and female body parts,” with jokes made by Duggan and Hart. It also spoke about how “individuals in the highest levels of the organization encouraged, condoned, and even engaged in conduct that created the hostile working environment. Women who attempted to complain to HR and upper management were deterred from complaining and told to be a ‘cool girl’ or that ‘it’s a female issue’ and ‘cattiness’ or were simply ignored.” The suit which was filed in 2016 against Duggan has come up for hearing in the San Francisco Superior Court. 
BetterWorks hired an independent investigator who concluded none of the company’s policies was violated, according to the lawsuit and a statement from the board. Penguin Publishing House said that it was deferring the publication of “Measure What Matters,” the title of the book written by Duggan and Doerr, Chairman of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers who is also a board member at BetterWorks till further notice.  The book focuses on goal setting and performance practices, was slated to release in September. The book has been taken off the pre-order section on Amazon and the book website has also been pulled down.


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