Sunday, 7 Aug 2022

Alibaba fires manager over claims he sexually assaulted employee on business trip

Alibaba has fired one of its managers over claims he sexually assaulted a female employee on a business trip, its chief executive has confirmed.

The manager, whose name has not been made public, worked at the Chinese e-commerce company’s City Retail unit, which works in supermarket grocery delivery.

He is accused of engaging in “intimate acts” with the woman while she was drunk and asleep, according to an internal memo from Alibaba boss Daniel Zhang issued on Monday.

The man “has been fired and will never be rehired”, he said.

Local police are investigating the incident and two more staff – the City Retail unit’s president and head of human resources – have also resigned over allegations they failed to take action, the memo said.

The alleged victim has posted an 11-page account of what she says happened on Alibaba’s intranet site.

She says the supervisor and a client had forced her to drink alcohol on a work trip and sexually assaulted her afterwards.

Her post was soon made public and featured among the top-trending on Chinese social media website Weibo over the weekend.

A group chat about the alleged incident on Alibaba’s workplace messaging service Dingtalk had more than 6,000 employee members on Monday morning.

They are calling for justice and a crackdown on sexual harassment in the workplace.

Mr Zhang has said the company is vehemently opposed to the “ugly culture of forced drinking”.

It will enforce a company-wide training programme and set up a dedicated channel for people to report incidents, he said.

The chief executive also promised to issue a formal zero-tolerance policy on harassment and has given its chief people officer a “demerit” over the handling of the case.

Alibaba was founded by retired billionaire Jack Ma in 1999, five years after rival Amazon was launched in the US.

Its e-payment service Alipay was rolled out five years later.

Mr Ma was not seen in public for several months last year after criticising China’s competition regulators.

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