Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has fired a female employee who accused her then-supervisor of sexually assaulting her during a business trip earlier this year, according to the woman and her lawyer.
The woman, identified in public only by her surname Zhou, was sent a dismissal notice on Nov. 25 for allegedly spreading false information and damaging the company, according to a copy of the notice obtained by The Wall Street Journal.
Zhou Fired for Violating Company Code of Conduct
Zhou's dismissal notice said she violated the internal company code of conduct by spreading false information through fliers she distributed to co-workers, messages she posted on internal company messages boards and banners she unfurled in the cafeteria, "which aroused strong concern from society and damaged the company."
The allegedly false information included saying she was raped by executives and that the company knew but didn't do anything, according to the notice.
The company said it attempted to work with Zhou to pay legal and counseling fees and negotiate her departure from the company, but Zhou did not accept the terms of those offers. Zhou, however, said she was regularly in communication with employees from the company, including talks about her requesting an extended leave of absence due to depression she experienced following the incident, according to the newspaper.
Zhou Had Accused Supervisor of Groping, Kissing Her in Hotel Room
Zhou had accused her former supervisor, Wang Chengwe, molestation and rape during a business trip. She alleged she was pressured to drink until she was nearly unconscious and later woke up to Chengwe kissing and groping her in a hotel room.
Alibaba, which fired Wang, said it investigated the matter internally and was also cooperating with police. Two senior managers also resigned for failing to act after Zhou made her report. But prosecutors dropped her case in September, after investigators found that Wang's actions constituted "forcible indecency" but did not rise to the level of rape. Police gave him 15 days of administrative detention.
"I hope that one day, people will no longer hurl insults and abuse at victims when this society confronts sexual-assault cases, and that there will be more care and concern," Zhou said.