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Alibaba fires supervisor accused of sexual assault; CEO requires change after ‘shameful’ incident

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The entrance of Alibaba’s Wangjing workplace in Beijing on Dec. 24, 2020.

Costfoto | Barcroft Media | Getty Pictures

GUANGZHOU, China — Alibaba has fired a supervisor accused of sexual assault and disciplined different staff because the Chinese language e-commerce large seems to be to restrict reputational injury.

Over the weekend, a feminine worker wrote a publish on Alibaba’s intranet accusing her supervisor Wang Chengwen and an organization shopper of sexual assault. The allegations went viral when the publish was later shared on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform.

The lady alleges that Wang compelled her to drink excessively throughout a enterprise dinner in Jinan one night in late July. She stated she awakened the following morning bare in her mattress in her resort room. The worker stated she vaguely remembers Wang kissing and touching her the night time earlier than in her room.

The supervisor admitted to “intimate acts” with an inebriated feminine worker, in keeping with a letter despatched to staff by Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang. The memo added the fired supervisor will “by no means be rehired.”

“Whether or not he has dedicated rape or indecency that violates the legislation can be decided by legislation enforcement,” the memo stated.

Whereas police in Jinan are nonetheless investigating the incident, Alibaba stated it determined to penalize the supervisor and different staffers after it “gained readability on some crucial info on the dealing with of the incident.”

The feminine worker stated she reported the incident to Alibaba and requested for Wang to be fired, however noticed no speedy motion taken.

Alibaba stated two staff have resigned: Li Yonghe, the top of a enterprise unit that features Alibaba’s meals supply enterprise, alongside the division’s human assets chief Xu Kun.

“When the worker reported a horrendous act similar to rape, they didn’t make well timed selections nor took applicable motion,” Zhang stated within the memo.

Alibaba Chief Individuals Officer Judy Tong can be given a demerit. Zhang criticized HR, saying they “didn’t pay sufficient consideration and care to our folks.”

“On the identical time, an emergency response system was absent, and a extreme misjudgment was made. Within the occasion of a felony investigation, they didn’t droop the related events. This means an issue in our tradition and capability constructing. Given this systemic drawback, the management should be held accountable,” he stated.

A spokesperson for the corporate stated in a press release “Alibaba Group has a zero-tolerance coverage in opposition to sexual misconduct, and making certain a secure office for all our staff is Alibaba’s prime precedence.”

Zhang known as the incident “shameful” and stated the corporate should “rebuild” and “change.”

The CEO stated Alibaba will now conduct company-wide coaching on the safety of worker rights, together with anti-sexual harassment. The corporate can even “expedite the formation of an anti-sexual harassment coverage.”

Whereas police are nonetheless investigating the incident, Zhang stated the corporate is “staunchly against the ugly compelled ingesting tradition.”

“No matter gender, whether or not it’s a request made by a buyer or a supervisor, our staff are empowered to reject it,” he wrote within the memo.

Alibaba shares in Hong Kong had been down 2.5% in afternoon commerce because the information piled extra stress onto an organization which continues to be below regulatory scrutiny after a $2.8 billion antitrust fine earlier this year.

China’s MeToo motion has not taken off prefer it has within the U.S. and different components of the world. But it surely has begun to collect steam extra lately after Chinese language-Canadian pop star Kris Wu was accused of rape and detained by police in Beijing. He has denied the allegations.