High-profile Silicon Valley sexual discrimination trial renews debate over gender inequality

Markets Associated Press

Lawyers have started picking a jury to determine whether a venerable Silicon Valley venture capital firm is guilty of gender discrimination or the victim of a scorned former employee forced out because of poor performance.

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Ellen Pao's 3-year-old sexual harassment and gender discrimination lawsuit and recent back-and-forth court filings between Pao and her former employer Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & Byers have captivated the technology industry in the run-up to the trial in San Francisco Superior Court.

The legal dispute also rekindled debate over gender and racial inequality in Silicon Valley.

The firm fired Pao in 2012 after she filed her lawsuit. The 45-year-old Pao says she was fired because of her discrimination complaints. The firm claims she was fired because of poor performance.

Jury selection started Monday. The trial is expected to last four weeks.