News: Alibaba employee found not guilty in sexual harassment case


Alibaba employee found not guilty in sexual harassment case

The Chinese Court ruled in favour of an ex-Alibaba employee who had been accused of sexually molesting his subordinate. The case drew social media attention with divergent opinions and reactions.
Alibaba employee found not guilty in sexual harassment case

The District Court in North Eastern Shandong province recently dropped a case against an ex-employee of Alibaba who was accused of sexual assault by his subordinate. 


The accused, identified as ‘Wang’ was arrested last month over sexual harassment and rape allegations filed against him by a female employee of Alibaba on a business trip in Jinan. 


The Chinese Court ruled that the ‘forcible indecency’ exhibited by the man cannot be called a crime. The Jinan police said that the investigation of this case is complete. Mr Wang will continue to be under detention for 15 days as “punishment” for his actions. The arrest order of Mr Wang was not approved as claimed by the the People's Procuratorate of Huaiyin city in Jinan


After the case had been dropped by the Court, an Alibaba Group spokesperson responded that the company has a zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment and misconduct. It makes all the efforts possible to maintain and regulate a safe working environment for its employees.


The alleged victim had accused the manager of forcing her to travel with him to Jinan to meet a client. The victim revealed that her superiors pressured her to consume alcohol with her fellow co-workers. She added that the client had kissed her on the evening of 27th July. She then recalled waking up in her hotel room naked with no recollection of the previous night whatsoever. The woman procured surveillance camera footage where she saw the manager coming to her room four times during the evening. 


She had complained about the incident to Alibaba's human resources (HR) department and senior management requesting them to expel the manager. Despite the victim’s efforts, the management took no action on this matter. 


Her allegations created an uproar on Chinese social media like Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter. 


Alibaba Group received flac from all quarters prompting them to fire Mr Wang. The two executives who did not take adequate actions in the case also gave their resignations, the company stated. Alibaba also released a memo saying that it was strongly opposed to forced drinking culture. 


It also added that Mr Wang admitted that he indulged in intimate acts with the woman when she was inebriated. 


The Chinese police investigations revealed that the woman consumed 350 ml of alcohol but she was not forced by anyone to drink excessively. It also said that Mr Wang entered her hotel room with her consent as another co-worker insisted him to check on her.


Although Mr Wang’s case had been put to rest, the prosecutors of the Court were successful in securing the arrest of the client who was also indicted for harassing the alleged victim. The accused client, who was identified as Mr. Zhang, was reportedly fired by his company.


The social media users seemed completely divided over this case. Some thought that Mr Wang did not face the repercussions of his actions while others said that there was not enough evidence against him. Some were puzzled as to why he has been detained for 15 days if he is not proven guilty. 


Mr Wang’s wife thanked the Court for a fair hearing and netizens for their constant support and encouragement.


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Topics: Diversity, #Work Culture

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