Alibaba fires manager accused of rape

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The move follows a female staffer’s 11-page account of her ordeal gone viral on Chinese social media. Two executives have also resigned over the incident that has sparked a debate on the e-commerce company’s culture.

China’s largest e-commerce company, Alibaba, has fired a manager who is accused of sexually assaulting a female employee after her detailed account of the incident on the company’s intranet emerged among the top-trending items on Chinese social media platform Weibo.

The manager, who worked atĀ Alibaba’s grocery delivery unit City Retail, admitted that he was involved in “intimate acts” when the victim was intoxicated, Alibaba Chief Executive Daniel Zhang said in an intranet memo. The police are investigating the incident.

The president of the City Retail unit, Li Yonghe, as well as his human resources chief resigned for failing to act on the victim’s complaint, the memo read.

Alibaba has pledged to introduce policies to prevent sexual harassment, saying the company had a “zero-tolerance policy against sexual misconduct” and that ensuring a safe workplace for all our employees was its “top priority.” 

“This incident is a humiliation for all Alibaba employees. We must rebuild, and we must change,” Zhang said.

What are the accusations?

The female staffer has alleged that her supervisor and a client sexually assaulted her in a hotel room during a business trip to the city of Jinan in the eastern Shandong province.

In an 11-page internal post, she wrote that her superiors forced her to drink alcohol with her coworkers during a dinner on the trip before she was molested. The victim said her complaints made to superiors and the human resources department were ignored.

How does Alibaba plan to prevent sexual abuse?

Zhang said the e-commerce giant will conduct training for all its employees to prevent incidents of sexual misconduct. The company will also launch a channel for staff to report incidents.

The company plans to issue a formal, zero-tolerance anti-sexual harassment policy.

Zhang condemned “the ugly culture of forced drinking.”

“Regardless of gender, whether it is a request made by a customer or supervisor, our employees are empowered to reject it,” The Alibaba CEO said in the memo.