Alibaba Group Holding has fired a manager accused of rape and punished several executives for their handling of the case as it grapples to contain the global e-commerce giant.
A supervisor at the company was fired after confessing to having improper “intimate acts” with a female staff while she was drunk, according to an internal memo seen by South China Morning Post.
The company’s Chairman Daniel Zhang termed the incident a “shameful” aspect of the work culture at Alibaba.
“This incident is a humiliation for all [Alibaba employees],” Zhang wrote, noting that the incident reflected the “tremendous sadness for the challenges in Alibaba’s culture.”
“We must rebuild, and we must change. Change is only possible if everyone takes individual action, but it must start at the top. It starts with me. Please wait and watch,” Zhang wrote.
Li Yonghe and Xu Kun, the president and human resources generalist of Alibaba’s Neighbourhood Retail Business group, have resigned for not acting in a timely and appropriate manner when a female employee had complained that she was sexually assaulted on July 27.
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She wrote that she had reported the incident to Alibaba’s senior managers, and decided to post the letter as the human resources department failed to take action to fire her supervisor.
Taking matters into her own hands, the employee said she went to the Hangzhou-based company’s dining hall on Friday and used a loudspeaker to disclose to her peers the sexual assault that she suffered.
She was stopped by the firm’s internal security from completing her public disclosure, according to her account.
The employee also took it to social media that a senior colleague, surnamed Wang together with Zhang, an employee from Jinan Hualian Supermarket, had forced her to drink to excess and that Wang had gone on to rape her while she was drunk at a hotel.
South China Morning Post reports that the penalties followed the statement yesterday by the police department in the Shandong provincial capital of Jinan that it had opened an investigation and was gathering evidence about the alleged sexual assault.