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Alibaba fires worker accused of sexual assault as stress mounts on Chinese language tech

Hong Kong CNN Enterprise —  

A sexual assault scandal has rocked Alibaba and led to departures on the Chinese language e-commerce big.

The corporate on Monday mentioned it has fired an worker after he was accused of sexually assaulting a lady who additionally works at Alibaba (BABA). The person confessed to actions that Alibaba (BABA) deemed “in critical violation of firm coverage,” in keeping with a memo despatched by Alibaba (BABA) Group chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang to staff.

Two senior staff additionally resigned after they “didn’t prioritize worker safety,” in keeping with Zhang’s memo.

“Alibaba Group has a zero-tolerance coverage towards sexual misconduct, and making certain a secure office for all our staff is Alibaba’s prime precedence,” an organization spokesperson mentioned in a press release to CNN Enterprise.

The allegations — which had been broadly circulated on Chinese language social media over the weekend — have rocked Alibaba at a time when it and different Chinese language tech firms are already going through unbelievable scrutiny from Chinese language regulators over their enterprise. The claims triggered public outcry as many criticized the corporate for its dealing with of the state of affairs.

The controversy began after a submit — allegedly written by the sufferer, who didn’t determine herself, and revealed on an inner Alibaba web site — circulated on the Chinese language social media web site Weibo. In keeping with screenshots of the 8,000-word account, the lady claimed she was assaulted by her supervisor throughout a enterprise journey to Jinan, a metropolis in jap China, whereas she says she was drunk.

“The male chief even entered my resort room 4 instances that evening with condom and assaulted me!!!! After I typed the strains above, I couldn’t management myself, and I broke into tears. I by no means thought that I might have such an expertise,” she wrote. “After I give it some thought now, it simply seems like a nightmare, one which makes you terrified, scared, helpless, helpless nightmare!”

CNN Enterprise can not affirm the authenticity of the submit.

The submit has exploded on Chinese language social media. Subjects associated to the incident have been considered 850 million instances on Weibo, producing greater than 510,00Zero dialogue posts.

Some commenters accused Alibaba of failing to guard the rights of its staff. The girl allegedly claimed that the corporate disregarded her considerations when she reported them.

“How come there are nonetheless feminine staff who’ve been pushed and pressured by their leaders to drink and are violated. Is that this the Alibaba tradition?” wrote one Weibo consumer. “I actually hope the outcomes of the investigation can develop into clear as quickly as doable. Such a big firm should shield its staff.”

On Sunday, police in Jinan introduced on Weibo that they’d launched a probe into the case.

“The police are actively investigating the matter and accumulating proof,” they mentioned in a press release.

The accused has not been charged with any crime. Within the memo to staff on Monday, Zhang mentioned the worker confessed to “intimate acts” with a lady who was inebriated, violating firm coverage.

“Whether or not he has dedicated rape or indecency that violates the legislation will likely be decided by legislation enforcement,” Zhang added within the memo, which was posted publicly on the corporate’s information web site.

“He will likely be fired and by no means be rehired,” Zhang wrote.

Two executives, together with the president of Alibaba’s Neighborhood Retail group, have resigned over the dealing with of the incident, in keeping with Zhang, who added that the lady reported the incident to the corporate August 2.

“We consider that the top of the enterprise is each the proprietor of the enterprise and the crew’s tradition,” Zhang wrote, including that when the lady reported “a horrendous act … they didn’t make well timed choices nor took acceptable motion.”

“This incident has prompted great hurt to her. We are going to do all the pieces we are able to to maintain her,” Zhang wrote.

Zhang added that the corporate’s chief individuals officer has additionally been reprimanded, and mentioned that the corporate will set up a devoted reporting channel for workers, in addition to create an “anti-sexual harassment coverage” that can embrace enter from consultants and staff.

Zhang additionally acknowledged that the incident highlights what he known as a tradition of “compelled ingesting,” referring to alcohol-heavy occasions which are widespread in China to safe enterprise offers or construct partnerships.

“Though the police are nonetheless investigating the precise circumstances of the dinner that day, we’re staunchly against the ugly compelled ingesting tradition,” he wrote. “No matter gender, whether or not it’s a request made by a buyer or a supervisor, our staff are empowered to reject it.”

The scandal’s speedy unfold on social media — together with the general public outrage that ensued — comes as main corporations, together with Alibaba, have confronted enormous regulatory stress.

As President Xi Jinping more and more emphasizes the ruling Communist Occasion’s dominant position in each facet of China’s financial system and society, regulators have focused tech, training and different companies with fines and restrictions.

Complaints about work tradition play into that scrutiny. Pinduoduo, an e-commerce agency and rival to Alibaba, confronted intense public backlash earlier this 12 months over accusations that it overworks its staff after two of its staff died unexpectedly, together with a person who died by suicide.

Chinese language social media customers began calling out the deaths as emblematic of a hard work tradition, and a former software program engineer on the firm escalated criticisms in a number of posts the place he accused the corporate of overworking its staff.

The corporate didn’t reply on the time to questions in regards to the allegations made towards its work tradition, however did say that it had arrange a crew to offer psychological counseling following the suicide of a employee.


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