Maria Zhang, a senior director of engineering at Yahoo! Mobile, is being sued by a female subordinate, Nan Shi, who worked as a senior software engineer at the company since February 2013. According to a lawsuit filed July 11 in the Superior Court of Santa Clara in San José, Calif., Zhang forced Shi to give her "oral and digital sex" on multiple occasions against her will. According to a July 12 CNNMoney report, the lawsuit alleges that Zhang told Shi that she would have a "bright future" in Yahoo if she maintained relations with Zhang. The suit also names Yahoo! as a defendant.
The complaint indicates that Shi reported the harassment to Yahoo's human resources. However, the HR personnel of the company refused to carry out an investigation when she complained about the behavior of her direct supervisor. Instead, according to the plaintiff, Shi was suspended without pay, and eventually was fired from her position in the company.
A Yahoo! spokesperson told CNNMoney that "there is absolutely no basis or truth" to the allegations against the executive. "Maria is an exemplary Yahoo executive and we intend to fight vigorously to clear her name," the spokesperson said in an email.
Shi alleges that when she rejected Zhang's further advances for sex, her supervisor began to retaliate against her. Shi was then removed as lead from projects and had others promoted from beneath her to supervise her, according to the suit.
The lawsuit accuses Zhang of “unfairly downgrading her performance reviews for the second and third quarters of 2013" after Shi no longer accepted her sexual requests. Shi is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.