updated 6/14/2010 9:22:20 PM ET 2010-06-15T01:22:20

The campaign of California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is responding to a published report that claims she had an altercation with an eBay employee three years ago.

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The confrontation led to a confidential settlement between eBay and the employee, who remains with the company. Whitman was eBay's CEO at the time.

The New York Times posted a story to its website Monday based on anonymous sources. It says that in June 2007, Whitman pushed the employee, Young Mi Kim, who was helping her prepare for a media interview.

The story says the employee threatened to sue but later agreed to a mediated settlement.

Whitman campaign spokeswoman Sarah Pompei issued a statement defending the Republican candidate as a "results-focused boss." She says it is not unusual to have a "verbal dispute in a high-pressure working environment."

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