Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce company, has fired a woman who claimed a colleague and a client sexually assaulted her.
According to the dismissal letter, she spread falsehoods that harmed the company’s reputation.
In August, the employee went public with her allegations after alleging that Alibaba had failed to take action. She claimed the assaults occurred during a business trip.
After that, the colleague was fired, but the criminal case against him was dropped.
The client is still believed to be the subject of a police investigation.
The widely publicized case has brought to light the workplace harassment experienced by women in China.
According to the employee, she was fired late last month, according to the government-backed newspaper Dahe Daily. It ran a copy of what she claimed was her termination letter.
According to the letter, she disseminated false information about the assault and the company’s failure to handle the case.
It went on to say that this “caused strong social concern and had a negative impact on the company.”
“I have not made any mistakes, and certainly will not accept this result, and in the future will use legal means to protect my rights and interests.” the employee says in a quote.
The woman’s lawyer told the New York Times that she had been fired.
The BBC’s request for comment was not immediately responded to by Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce firm.
What are the allegations?
The woman’s account of the incident was published in an eleven-page document, in which she claimed the colleague raped her in a hotel room while she was unconscious after a “drunken night.”
It sparked a social media firestorm on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform.
The woman claimed that her colleague, who held a more senior managerial position in the company, forced her to travel to Jinan, which is approximately 900 kilometers (560 miles) from Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou, for a meeting with a client.
She accused her bosses of ordering her to drink alcohol with coworkers at dinner.
The woman claimed that on the evening of July 27, the client kissed her. She then recalls waking up in her hotel room the next day without her clothes on and with no memory of the previous night.
According to the woman, she obtained surveillance camera footage showing the coworker entering her room four times during the evening.
After returning to Hangzhou, the woman stated that she had reported the incident to Alibaba’s human resources (HR) department and senior management, and that she had requested that the coworker be fired.
She stated that while human resources initially agreed to the request, no further action was taken.
What has been the reaction?
Following a public outpouring of rage, Alibaba fired the coworker, identified only as Mr Wang. According to the company, two executives who failed to act on the allegation resigned as well.
Alibaba was “staunchly opposed to forced drinking culture,” according to a memo.
Alibaba previously stated that the man accused of rape admitted to “intimate acts” while the woman was “inebriated.”
Despite the fact that Mr Wang’s case will not be heard, prosecutors have approved the arrest of the client who allegedly assaulted the victim. He has been given the surname Zhang.
Mr. Zhang is also said to have been fired by his employer.
The case has sparked debate on the internet. Some social media users believe the coworker got off too lightly, while others believe there was insufficient evidence against him.
This latest development is likely to elicit similar debates in China, which is grappling with its own #MeToo movement.
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