© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Alibaba Group logo is seen in its Beijing, China office on January 5, 2021. REUTERS / Thomas Peter / File Photo
By Josh Horwitz
SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (NYSE 🙂 Group Holding Ltd has fired a manager who allegedly sexually assaulted an employed woman and will establish policies to prevent sexual harassment, chief executive Daniel Zhang said on Monday.
The manager – of Alibaba’s City Retail unit, which offers food delivery from local supermarkets – “has been fired and will never be hired,” Zhang said in a note posted on Alibaba’s intranet that saw Reuters .
The man told management there were “intimate acts” with the employee when she was intoxicated, Zhang said in the note, adding that police are investigating the matter.
Reuters was unable to reach the person for comment.
“The Alibaba group has a zero tolerance policy against sexual misconduct and ensuring the job security of all our employees is Alibaba’s top priority,” a company spokesman told Reuters when asked about the note.
Over the weekend, a woman on the staff posted an 11-page account on Alibaba’s intranet in which she said her supervisor and a client had sexually assaulted her during a business trip and that managers had not taken measures.
Issues related to the incident were later ranked among the most popular on Weibo (NASDAQ :), China’s Chinese Twitter microblog, which has been ignited with the discussion about the #MeToo anti-sexual harassment movement after ‘a celebrity sex scandal last week.
Zhang said the chairman of the City Retail unit and the head of human resources had resigned over the incident and that the Alibaba chief of staff “received a demerit.”
Investigations into other people referred to in the victim’s account are ongoing, Zhang added in the note.
Alibaba will conduct company-wide training for sexual harassment prevention and launch a channel for staff to report incidents, Zhang said in the note. It will also issue a formal policy of zero-tolerance sexual harassment.
Zhang also said Alibaba strongly opposes “the ugly culture of forced drinking.”
The note detailed the account of the victim’s incident, in which he recalled that superiors ordered him to drink alcohol with co-workers during dinner on a business trip.
“Regardless of gender, whether it is a request made by a client or a supervisor, our employees are empowered to reject it,” Zhang said in the note.
“This incident is a humiliation for all Alibaba employees. We need to rebuild and we need to change,” he said.
(This story was reproduced to correct the preposition in the second paragraph)
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