Microsoft Sex Discrimination Lawsuit Sucks Customer Reviews and Feedback
Women at Microsoft say it’s a toxic place to work. The second-most valuable company in the US has a problem that won’t go away.
The tech company is investigating dozens of complaints of discrimination and harassment against female employees that came to light when an internal company email chain was leaked to the news site Quartz.
It all started on March 20, when a woman at the company sent an email asking female colleagues for career advice. After six years doing the same job, she said, she didn’t see any opportunities to advance, according to Quartz, which reviewed the emails. Dozens of women replied to the email to share their own complaints about repeated discrimination and harassment — complaints they said the company’s human resources department had ignored.
One woman said a coworker had twice asked her to sit in his lap at a meeting, and a human resources manager in the room did nothing. One of the most alarming complaints came from a woman who said a contractor threatened to kill her on a business trip if she didn’t perform a sexual act on him.
When she told her boss, she said he brushed it off and described it as “flirting.” When she went to human resources, she said a manager told her there was nothing the company could do about it. Women also complained about getting passed over for promotions and being assigned secretarial work.
By the time Microsoft’s human resources director responded to the email thread on March 29, the list of complaints was 90 pages long. Kathleen Hogan, head of HR for the company, told the group in an email that she would personally investigate each of their claims and that she had notified the company’s executives, according to Quartz.
“We are appalled and sad to hear about these experiences. It is very painful to hear these stories and to know that anyone is facing such behavior at Microsoft. We must do better,” Hogan wrote in the email thread, according to a company spokesperson. Hogan said Microsoft will organize sessions to hear more about their concerns and to develop a plan to address them. “While reading some of this is very disheartening, I am proud and encouraged to see people empowered to speak up, say this is not right, and stand together for change.”
The email chain is just the latest sign of growing discontent among women who work in the male-dominated tech industry. Microsoft, which is now the second-most valuable corporation in the US (based on market capitalization), is also facing multiple gender discrimination lawsuits from current and former employees.
And the complaints women have taken to court are all too similar to those described in the email chain, making it harder for Microsoft to keep denying that the company has a problem.
In The News
Bloomberg reports"Microsoft Intern's Rape Claim Highlights Struggle to Combat Sex Discrimination"
Fortune reports"Monetizing fear? The future of anti-rape technology—and its decade of failure"
U.S. News & World Report reports"New Title IX Rules Bolster the Rights of Those Accused of Sexual Assault"
Animation World Network reports"State of California Intervenes to Stop Riot Games Gender Discrimination Settlement"