Alibaba ushers in sweeping change following assault case

Alibaba ushers in sweeping change following assault case

THE WHAT? Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang has announced a series of initiatives and disciplinary measures following a serious incident of sexual assault at the company.

THE DETAILS The company will establish a professional committee to strengthen organizational guardrails, named the Alibaba Group Committee on Workplace Environment with Deputy Chief People Officer Jane Jiang serving as Chairwoman. Committee members in this initial phase are five female senior management executives, although a ‘diversity of employee representatives’ will be invited to join in the future.

The Committee on Workplace Environment will appoint an independent working team (AID Team) responsible for investigating any complaints and reports related to sexual harassment and sexual assault. A dedicated email and hotline has been set up for reporting.

In addition, the e-commerce behemoth will entrench positive workplace measures aimed at examining and eradicating inappropriate workplace behavior such as a ‘safe space’ team tasked with tackling forced drinking culture, a gender equality and healthy workplace measure to be included in the annual ESG report and professional training for new employees and managers.

THE WHY? The actions follow a post on the company intranet written by a female employee accusing her supervisor of sexual assault. The perpetrator, who admitted to intimate acts with the employee in question, was fired immediately, and disciplinary proceedings were launched against key managerial and HR staff for their bungled and insensitive handling of the case. As CEO Daniel Zhang said in a letter to Alibaba employees, “This incident is shameful for all Aliren. We must rebuild, and we must change.”