The front of Alibaba’s Wangjing office in Beijing on Dec. 24, 2020.
Costfoto | Barcroft Media | Getty Images
GUANGZHOU, China — Alibaba has introduced a series of measures designed to prevent sexual harassment and assault.
The move comes after a female employee accused her supervisor Wang Chengwen and a client of Alibaba of sexual assault.
Wang was fired and Alibaba took disciplinary action against other employees, such as its Chief People Officer Judy Tong, who was given a demerit. The Chinese e-commerce giant’s CEO Daniel Zhang criticized the human resources department, saying it “did not pay enough attention and care to our people.”
In addition to the dismissal, Wang is also being investigated by police in the city of Jinan over those allegations related to sexual misconduct.
The e-commerce giant, looking to contain the reputational damage from the incident, said in a letter to employees that it would set up a committee. The committee will be the “decision-making body for matters related but not limited to sexual harassment prevention and will report directly to the Alibaba Group Board of Directors,” the company said.
Alibaba’s five-woman committee will be led by the group’s Deputy Chief People Officer, Jane Jiang.
The committee will appoint an independent working team “responsible for investigating any complaints and reports related to sexual harassment and sexual assault.”
Alibaba also said it would revise the company’s code of conduct to improve practices and measures related to sexual harassment and sexual assault prevention. It would also create a “Sexual Harassment Prevention Code of Conduct” in order to “intensify our zero-tolerance policy against sexual misconduct,” the company said.
The woman, who accused Wang of sexual assault, alleges that the manager forced her to drink excessively during a business dinner in Jinan one evening in late July. She said she woke up the next morning naked in her bed in her hotel room. The employee said she vaguely remembers Wang kissing and touching her the night before in her room.
She reported the incident in a post on Alibaba’s intranet. The allegations went viral when the post was later shared on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform.
Alibaba said it has set up a team which will “examine and eradicate inappropriate workplace behavior reported by employees, including but not limited to issues such as forced drinking culture and tasteless comments that make the workplace uncomfortable.”
“Employees will have unconditional support to refuse any type of forced drinking,” it added.
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