Alibaba fires woman who reported sexual assault

A termination letter said he had spread falsehoods that had damaged the company’s reputation. Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba fired a woman who said she was sexually assaulted by a colleague and customer. The termination letter said that he had spread falsehoods that had damaged the company’s reputation. The employee made her allegations public in August because she said Alibaba had not acted. He said the assaults occurred during a business trip.

The colleague was later fired, but a criminal case against him was dropped. The client is believed to be still under police investigation. The highly publicized case has highlighted the harassment women face in the workplace in China. The employee told the government-backed newspaper Dahe Daily that she was fired late last month. She posted a copy of what she said was her termination letter. The letter said that he had spread false information about the assault and that the company was not handling the case.

He added that this “generated strong social concern and had a negative impact on the company.” The employee was quoted as saying: “I have not made any mistakes, and I certainly will not accept this result, and in the future I will use legal means to protect my rights and interests.” The woman’s attorney confirmed her firing to the New York Times. Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce firm, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the BBC.

What are the accusations? The woman’s account of the incident was published in an 11-page document, in which she said the colleague raped her in a hotel room while she was unconscious after a “night of drunkenness.” It sparked a social media storm on China’s Twitter-like platform Weibo.

The woman alleged that the colleague, who held a senior management position in the company, forced her to travel to Jinan City, which is about 900 km (560 miles) from Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou, to meet with a client.

He accused his superiors of ordering him to drink alcohol with coworkers during dinner. She said that on the night of July 27 the client kissed her. Then he remembers waking up in his hotel room the next day with no clothes and no memories of the night before.

The woman said she obtained surveillance camera footage showing that the co-worker had entered her room four times during the night. After returning to Hangzhou, the woman said the incident was reported to Alibaba’s human resources (HR) department and senior management and that she had requested that the coworker be fired. He said human resources initially agreed to the request but took no further action.