In the early morning of August 9, Alibaba’s CEO Daniel Zhang told employees in a memo that a male employee recently accused of rape in what has become a high-profile national case is to be fired.
Li Yonghe, President of the firm’s intra-city retail business group, and HRG Xu Kun both resigned, while Chief Human Resources Officer Judy Tong has received a demerit. The police are investigating and collecting evidence to determine whether or not any legal violation has taken place.
On August 7, an employee from the firm’s Taoxianda division posted a personal report on Alibaba‘s internal platform, claiming she had been asked to go to the city of Jinan during a typhoon striking Hangzhou from July 24 to July 26, as demanded by her supervisor Wang Chengwen. On July 27, she was sexually attacked by Zhang Guo, a customer from Jinan Hualian, and Wang. Subsequently, the female employee sought help from within Alibaba to no avail.
As stated in the announcement, Alibaba will launch training and investigation surrounding employee rights protection, including sexual harassment, and introduce special channels for reporting cases of abuse. Reports from employees will be followed up by a dedicated person under the premise of ensuring the full protection of privacy. These guidelines will be jointly developed by external experts and employee representatives.
Alibaba has stated it clearly opposes reckless drinking practices such as the behavior seen in the recent case, and supports employees unconditionally in their right to refuse alcohol at corporate gatherings, regardless of their gender.
“We must rebuild, we must change,” Zhang wrote. “Change is only possible when everyone takes action, but it has to start from the top, from me.”