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Follow-up, Feb. 24, 2016: Yahoo exec and Seattle startup founder Maria Zhang on her vindication against sexual harassment suit

Maria Zhang

Former Seattle startup CEO Maria Zhang, who joined Yahoo as a senior mobile engineering director when it acquired her company, Alike, was sued for sexual harassment Friday by a female employee who worked for Zhang at Yahoo.

Yahoo is denying the allegations and saying it intends to “fight vigorously” to clear Zhang’s name.

Zhang was a GeekWire Geek of the Week in October 2012.

The lawsuit, filed by Nan Shi, was reported today by the Mercury News. The suit alleges that Zhang coerced Shi into having sex and later retaliated by giving Shi a poor performance review and removing her as a project lead after Shi ultimately resisted Zhang’s advances. Shi says she was put on unpaid leave and ultimately terminated after reporting the allegations of abuse to Yahoo.

Yahoo, which is named as a defendant in the suit, told the Mercury News in a statement, “There is absolutely no basis or truth to the allegations against Maria Zhang. Maria is an exemplary Yahoo executive, and we intend to fight vigorously to clear her name.”

GeekWire has also contacted Zhang seeking comment.

Update, July 17: Zhang has countersued for defamation in this sexual harassment case. Read more here.

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