Kleiner gets another shot to move discrimination case
* Judge grants Kleiner request to seek arbitration
* Next hearing set for July 20
By Dan Levine
SAN FRANCISCO, July 10 (Reuters) - A California judge on Tuesday said he would allow venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers LLC to make different legal arguments in its attempt to move an employment discrimination lawsuit brought by one of its own partners into arbitration.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn had previously rejected Kleiner's bid to move Ellen Pao's lawsuit to arbitration, in a tentative ruling on Monday. However, at a court hearing on Tuesday, Kahn granted a request from Kleiner to seek arbitration on different grounds.
Arbitration is generally viewed as more friendly to employers. Attorneys for Pao and Kleiner did not immediately comment after the hearing.
Pao's lawsuit has become the talk of Silicon Valley, where the digerati are avidly debating its merits - along with broader questions about sexism in the technology industry.
The suit paints a picture of a firm where complaints of harassment were ignored, where a senior partner suggested that marrying the alleged harasser might be the solution to Pao's difficulties, and where women were labeled "buzz" kills.
In response, Kleiner characterized Pao, who joined the firm in 2005, as an underperforming partner who never told the firm she was unhappy with her treatment by male colleagues.
Kleiner Perkins, founded in 1972, has backed firms including online retailer Amazon.com Inc, gaming company Electronic Arts Inc, biotechnology company Genentech, browser company Netscape, information-technology company Sun Microsystems and gaming company Zynga Inc.
Kahn set another hearing on the arbitration issue for July 20.
The case in Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco is Ellen Pao v Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers LLC and Does 1-20, case no. 12-520719.
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