Alibaba Fires Manager Who Allegedly Sexually Assaulted Female Staffer

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding has fired a manager who allegedly sexually assaulted an employee and will issue guidelines to prevent sexual harassment, CEO Daniel Zhang said Monday.

The manager of Alibabas City Retail, which provides grocery deliveries from local supermarkets, “has been laid off and will never be reinstated,” Zhang said in a memo posted on Alibaba’s intranet and viewed on Reuters.

The man told management that there were “intimate acts” with the employee when she was drunk, Zhang said in the memo, adding that the police are investigating the matter.

Reuters was unable to reach the person for comment.

“The Alibaba Group has a zero tolerance policy on sexual misconduct, and ensuring a safe job for all of our employees is a top priority for Alibaba,” a company spokesman told Reuters when asked about the memo.

Over the weekend, an employee posted an 11-page account on the Alibaba intranet saying that her supervisor and a customer sexually abused her while on a business trip and that managers did nothing.

Threads related to the incident were then a top trending trend on Weibo, China’s Twitter-style microblog that sparked discussions about the #MeToo anti-sexual harassment movement following a celebrity sex scandal last week.

Zhang said the City Retail Unit president and human resources manager resigned because of the incident, and Alibaba’s chief people officer “received a mistake.”

Investigations into other people referenced in the victim’s account are ongoing, Zhang added in the memo.

Alibaba will conduct company-wide sexual harassment prevention training and set up a channel for employees to report incidents, Zhang said in the memo. A formal zero tolerance policy against sexual harassment will also be in place.

Zhang also said Alibaba is firmly against “the ugly culture of forced drinking.”

The memo detailed the victim’s account of the incident, in which she recalled superiors ordering her to drink alcohol during dinner on a business trip with coworkers.

“Regardless of gender, whether it is a request from a customer or a supervisor, our employees are authorized to decline it,” Zhang said in the memo.

“This incident is a humiliation for all Alibaba employees. We have to rebuild and we have to change, ”he said.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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