Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group said today it had fired a manager over suspected sexual assault.
The firm has also promised policies to prevent sexual harassment in the office but was criticised by state media for no action until the accuser went public.
Over the weekend, a female staff posted an 11-page account on Alibaba’s intranet, saying her manager and a client had sexually assaulted her during a business trip and that superiors and human resources had failed to take action.
The accused manager, who worked at the grocery delivery unit, “has been fired and will never be rehired,” Alibaba’s chief executive Daniel Zhang said in an intranet memo.
The man told management he was involved in “intimate acts” when the female employee was inebriated, Zhang said in the memo, adding the matter was under police investigation.
Police in the city of Jinan, where the alleged incident took place, said the client was also under investigation.
Commentators and state media were overwhelmingly blasted Alibaba’s delay in handling the incident.
An editorial in the Global Times said, “Alibaba could not offer an answer that satisfies public opinion for this ham-handed inaction.”
A group of staff in Alibaba have also demanded justice and measures to prevent sexual harassment.
Zhang said in his memo that the company was staunchly opposed to “the ugly culture of forced drinking” and will launch company-wide training for the prevention of sexual harassment.
“This incident is a humiliation for all Alibaba employees. We must rebuild, and we must change,” said Zhang.