By Devika Krishna Kumar
(Reuters) – A high-level female Yahoo Inc executive has been sued in California by a woman who worked under her and is accusing her former boss of sexual harassment and wrongful termination.
Maria Zhang, a senior director of engineering at Yahoo Mobile, has been sued by Nan Shi, who worked as a principal software engineer in Yahoo from February 2013, according to a complaint filed on July 8 in Santa Clara Superior Court in San Jose, California.
The complaint alleges that Zhang coerced Shi to have oral and digital sex with her on multiple occasions in Sunnyvale, California, and told her she would have a “bright future” at Yahoo if she had sex with Zhang.
Shi is seeking monetary as well as punitive damages. The lawsuit also names Yahoo as a defendant.
“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 said in an email.
Zhang founded her own mobile company, Alike, which was acquired by Yahoo in 2013. She also worked at Microsoft and Zillow before joining Yahoo, according to her LinkedIn profile.
In the complaint, Shi accuses Zhang of unfairly downgrading her performance reviews for the second and third quarters of 2013.
The lawsuit alleges that the company’s human resources personnel refused to conduct an investigation when Shi complained about her direct supervisor’s advances.
Instead, according to the complaint, Shi was put on unpaid leave and eventually terminated from her position in the company.
(Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in Bangalore; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)