Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has fired a manager after a female employee reported being assaulted by her boss and a customer via the company’s intranet.
The woman published her 11-page statement on Alibaba’s internal communications platform. She said the assault took place during a business trip to Jinan, a city in eastern China about 900 kilometres from Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou.
Her boss allegedly forces her to accompany him to a meeting with a customer of the Hualian supermarket. On the evening of July 27, the customer is said to have kissed her. After being forced to drink alcohol, she is said to have woken up undressed in a hotel room, with no further recollection of what had happened the previous night.
On camera images she received from the hotel, it can be seen that her boss enters the room four times during the evening, she continues. She says she reported the incident to Alibaba’s human resources department and senior management after returning to Hangzhou. In addition, she would have asked to have her boss fired and to get some time off herself. According to the woman, Human Resources initially agreed but later came back to it.
“The Alibaba Group has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to sexual misconduct, and ensuring a safe workplace for all our employees is Alibaba’s top priority,” the company said in a statement. “We have suspended those suspected of violating our values, and we have launched an internal investigation into the matter, and we support the ongoing police investigation,” Alibaba said. Police in Jinan has said they are investigating the matter.
According to Chinese media, the woman’s chief, the human resources department employee, involved, and several managers have been suspended for the time being. The Hualian supermarket has said that the employee concerned is on hiatus while the police investigation is ongoing.
In an internal message, Alibaba chief executive Daniel Zhang wrote on Sunday that he was “shocked, furious and ashamed” about the incident, the Chinese state medium Global Times reported. Zhang promises to fully investigate the matter and share the results with all employees of the company.
“It’s not just human resources that need to apologize. The managers involved are also responsible and must apologize for their silence and not respond in time. So starting with myself, management, human resources, everyone at Alibaba needs to sympathize, think and take action,” said Zhang.