Widespread public attention was previously focused on the case of a female Alibaba employee surnamed Zhou who claimed she had been sexually assaulted in a lengthy post to the company’s internal messaging platform. However, Zhou was recently sued by her former supervisor and former Alibaba Group vice president Li Yonghe for reputation infringement.
The Paper learned from Yuhang District People’s Court of Hangzhou that the court recently accepted and filed a reputation dispute lawsuit. The plaintiff Li Yonghe appealed to the court to order the defendant Zhou to apologize to the plaintiff in writing for 15 consecutive days in a prominent position on the homepage in a national website, so as to eliminate the influence for the plaintiff and restore his reputation. Li also claims 1 yuan.
The defendant Zhou said that her attorney had submitted a reply and an application for the suspension of trial to the court.
On August 7 this year, an Alibaba employee released a tip anonymously, saying she was forced to take a business trip with a male leader. She recalled that she was in a private dining room no other guests but a male client, who acted indecently while she was heavily intoxicated. The male leader entered her bedroom four times with condoms on that night and repeatedly committed sexual assault. After the business trip, she reported the issue to the company’s HR and others but received no response. Helplessly, she went to the canteen of Alibaba Group and spread leaflets to defend her rights.
Li Yonghe, the plaintiff, claimed that Zhou, the defendant, published false information in Alibaba‘s shared spaces and websites, arousing heated public opinions. During the investigation by Alibaba and the public security organs, regardless of the fact that the plaintiff and her team actively responded to the incident, she expressed “rights protection claims” in public places by distributing leaflets, shouting slogans and pulling banners, threatening public opinion and fabricating the false fact that the plaintiff “knew but did not deal with it.” Her behavior is suspected by the plaintiff of belittling the reputation of others.
According to the lawsuit, because of the defendant’s above-mentioned infringement, Alibaba fell into a false understanding and finally made the wrong decision to let the plaintiff take the blame and resign.
On August 9, Zhang Yong, Chairman and CEO of Alibaba, announced on Alibaba‘s intranet that Li Yonghe, President of Retail Business Group in Local Service, and Xu Kun resigned, and Tong Wenhong, Chief Human Resources Officer of Alibaba, had a demerit, and the suspected male employee was dismissed and will never be hired again.
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Regarding the plaintiff Li’s application, Zhou replied to The Paper that she did not infringe the plaintiff’s reputation right. According to the law, her personal rights were infringed by suspected criminal acts and complained to the company according to law, which did not constitute the so-called infringement of reputation right. It is due to the management behavior of the company that the plaintiff was asked to resign because of work mistakes. The plaintiff also recognized and offered to resign without raising any objection, and cooperated with corporate decisions.