Rocked by sexual assault claim, Alibaba starts probe, suspends staff
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said on Sunday it has suspended several staff following an employee’s allegations on the company’s intranet that she was sexually assaulted by her boss and a client.
The woman’s account, published via an eleven-page PDF that went on to circulate widely online, prompted a social media storm on China’s Twitter-like microblogging website Weibo. Police in the city of Jinan said on Sunday morning that they were investigating the incident.
“Alibaba Group has a zero-tolerance policy against sexual misconduct, and ensuring a safe workplace for all our employees is Alibaba’s top priority,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“We have suspended relevant parties suspected of violating our policies and values, and have established a special internal task force to investigate the issue and support the ongoing police investigation.”
Late on Saturday, a female Alibaba staffer’s account of an incident she said took place while on a business trip went viral on Chinese social media, with responses to her account figuring among the top-trending items on Weibo as of Sunday morning.
The woman, who did not reveal her identity, alleged that her boss coerced her into going on a business trip with him to meet one of her team’s clients in the city of Jinan, about 900 kilometres (560 miles) from Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou.
According to the woman, on the evening of July 27, the client kissed her. After consuming alcohol, she woke up in a hotel room the following day with her clothes removed and no memory of what happened the evening before.Rocked by sexual assault claim, Alibaba starts probe, suspends staff