- In August, an Alibaba employee alleged she was sexually assaulted by her supervisor and a client.
- The case went viral, triggering public backlash and intense discussion about sexual harassment in China.
- Last month, the company accused the employee of disseminating false information about the incident and fired her.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has fired a female employee who accused her former male supervisor and a client of rape, Dahe Daily reported over the weekend.
The employee, identified only by her surname Zhou, was notified of her termination at the end of November, the state-owned Henan-based newspaper reported. It also published a copy of her termination letter signed off by Zhejiang Tmall Technology, an Alibaba affiliate based in Hangzhou.
The letter said the employee disseminated false information about her assault and the company’s handling of the case. The accusation “triggered strong social concern” that negatively impacted the company, it said.
Zhou told the company in August that her supervisor and a client had sexually assaulted her during a work trip in July. Zhao said she reported the incident to her supervisors and HR but heard nothing back. After two weeks without a response, Zhao posted an 11-page PDF to the company’s intranet, exposing her case to more than 250,000 Alibaba employees.
The case went viral, triggering public backlash and intense discussion about sexual harassment and China’s culture of business drinking.
According to a memo seen by Reuters, the accusations prompted Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang to take aim at the “ugly culture of forced drinking” in the company. Zhang said in the memo the manager in question had been “fired and will never be rehired.” The company also dismissed ten other employees for publicly sharing Zhou’s account, Bloomberg reported.
Chinese prosecutors later dropped the sexual assault case against the manager, saying he had committed “forcible indecency but not a crime,” according to Reuters.
Zhao told Dahe Daily she would fight her termination.
“I did not make any mistakes in my work, and the company has no right to fire me,” she told the outlet in an interview.
Alibaba did not immediately respond to an Insider request for comment. The woman’s lawyer confirmed her dismissal and the letter to The New York Times.