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Maria Zhang sued: Woman claims coerced sex with Zhang to secure Yahoo career

A female Yahoo executive is being sued for sexual harassment by a female software engineer, Nan Shi. On Friday Shi filed a complaint that makes some very harsh claims against Maria Zhang, the senior director of engineering.

Maria Zhang, top exec at Yahoo is being sued by former employee for sexual harrassment.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Zhang was Shi’s direct supervisor and the complaint claims that she coerced Shi into oral and digital sex by dangling her job over her head, according to CNN Money News on July 12. Shi claims she engaged in sexual relations against her will on multiple occasions.

These sexual liaisons took place in Sunnyvale, Calif. at Shi’s temporary Yahoo housing unit, claims the lawsuit. During the time that Shi was giving into her boss and doing what she asked. Shi reports that Zhang promised her a bright future at Yahoo.

Zhang also warned Shi that she could take everything from her, according to the complaint. The women, who worked together at Propeld, did not have a sexual relationship prior to the harassment, according to what Shi told her lawyer.

It was when Shi allegedly rejected the advances made by Zhang, that her work life began to crumble, she reports. She received poor performance reviews and she was given assignments that were of less and less importance.

The complaint also said that Shi notified Yahoo’s human resources about the sexual harassment and the company failed to follow through with a proper investigation and she was ultimately fired.

AM New York reports that Shi has also named Yahoo in this suit and she is seeking monetary damages, an amount not yet revealed to the public.

A Yahoo representative was adamant when denying all charges that Shi has brought against Zhang stating that they stand behind Zhang in every way. A Yahoo representative said in an email:

"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.”

Sexual harassment lawsuits are not uncommon in Silicon Valley as more money and power are being created there. Money and power tends to be at the root of many of these cases where ever they are filed. What is unusual is that this sexual harassment case is between two females, said Shi’s lawyer, Mathew Da Vega.

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