Former employee sues Facebook, alleging discrimination

A sign at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. A former employee has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the social media giant.
(Paul Sakuma / Associated Press)

A former Facebook employee has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the social media giant, alleging that the company treated her differently because of her gender and race.

In a lawsuit filed in San Mateo County Superior Court, Chia Hong, who worked at Facebook for three years as a product manager and then as a technology specialist in finance, alleges that she was discriminated against both for being a woman and for being Taiwanese.

Facebook’s director of finance and infrastructure tools, Anil Wilson, is listed in the lawsuit as a defendant alongside a number of John Does.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, accuses Wilson of “regularly ignoring or belittling Hong’s professional opinions and input at group meetings in which she was the only woman or one of very few; asking her why she did not stay home and take care of her children instead of pursuing a career; admonishing her for taking one personal day per month to volunteer at her child’s school, which was permitted under company policy, [and] ordering her to organize parties and serve drinks to male colleagues, which was not part of plaintiff’s job description.”


Hong also claims that she was told “that she was not integrated into the team because she looks different and talks different than other team members.”

Hong was fired from Facebook on Oct. 17, 2013. She claims that she was replaced by a less-qualified, less-experienced man.

“We work extremely hard on issues related to diversity, gender and equality, and we believe we’ve made progress,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “In this case we have substantive disagreements on the facts, and we believe the record shows the employee was treated fairly.”

Hong is being represented by Lawless & Lawless, one of two law firms currently representing the interim chief executive of Reddit, Ellen Pao, in her gender discrimination lawsuit against former employer Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm.

Hong is seeking punitive damages for lost wages and earnings, and a money judgment for “mental pain and anguish and emotional distress.”

Twitter: @traceylien