Those who had followed the case closely were not surprised that the majority of the jurors ruled against the plaintiff, Ellen Pao, in her contentions about gender discrimination and retaliation. That coverage spilled over into the weekend.
But, come Monday, which hasn't yet arrived here on the West Coast, and the question the media should now be posing is: What will happen to the career path of this high-profile plaintiff? I have a hunch that won't be posed by as many media outlets as focused on the litigation. It could be the elephant in the room.
After all, there are diverse constituencies supporting Pao. They might not be ready to hear speculation that her decision to file a lawsuit could damage her career. Moreover, if that happens, the process will likely be slow since organizations are keenly aware that their attitude toward her could wind up news.
Presently, she is interim head at Reddit. Her skills might not have been in venture capital. But even her critics saw her as competent in operations. She might keep that job for a while longer. She might be appointed to it permanently. Or, she could find herself eventually without work.
Another scenario could be that her signature as a advocate for gender equality could generate offers for leadership positions at foundations, think tanks and universities. She could be in demand on the lucrative speaker circuit. Big advances could be dangled by publishers to write a book about women in tech. She could oversee a documentary about gender matters in general.
Right now, no one knows how Pao's professional life will play out. That probably includes her. The elephant in the room may just be the extreme uncertainty triggered by the lawsuit. For some that could be an uncomfortable position. Is it for Pao? Time will tell.