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Alibaba reshapes harassment policy after manager dismissal

New all-female committee to tackle complaints.

Ian McCawley

harassment
@makenamedia via Twenty20

Unleash Your Curiosity Chinese e-commerce giant reacts swiftly to allegations with tough new stance.

Alibaba has launched a new set of measures to prevent sexual harassment and assault after dismissing one of its managers, who had been the subject of an employee complaint.

The move – cited by CNBC.com – 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, including Chief People Officer Judy Tong, who has been handed a demerit.

Alibaba HR brought to book

The Chinese e-commerce company’s CEO, Daniel Zhang, criticized the firm’s HR 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 the allegations related to sexual misconduct.

Alibaba said in a letter to employees that it would set up a committee following the case, which “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”.

Alibaba’s five-woman committee will be led by the group’s Deputy Chief People Officer, Jane Jiang.

All-female committee launches

The committee will appoint an independent working team “responsible for investigating any complaints and reports related to sexual harassment and sexual assault”.

Alibaba also advised it would revise its code of conduct to improve practices and measures related to sexual harassment and sexual assault prevention.

It also plans to create a “Sexual Harassment Prevention Code of Conduct” in order to “intensify our zero-tolerance policy against sexual misconduct”.

The woman accused Wang of sexual assault alleged that he forced her to drink excessively during a business dinner in Jinan one evening in late July, with the alleged assault taking place afterwards.

Alibaba’s swift, tough response

She reported the incident in a post on Alibaba’s intranet. The allegations went viral when the post was later shared on Weibo.

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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