Microsoft publishes first report on sexual harassment and gender • The Register

Microsoft on Tuesday released a 50-page transparency report on how the company handles complaints of sexual harassment and gender discrimination, the first in its history.

The report [PDF]accompanied by a business plan [PDF] Implementing recommendations in the report was compiled as a result of a shareholder proposal at Microsoft’s 2021 annual meeting.

The shareholder proposal, backed by 78 percent of investors, was made by Arjuna Capital, a sustainable impact investment firm, in response to sexual harassment allegations against Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and other allegations, but only covers the years 2019-2022.

Publicly reported in May 2021, the allegations date back to 2000, when Gates ran the company, and prompted the company’s board to launch an internal investigation in late 2019. In March 2020, while the investigation was still ongoing, Gates resigned from the board of Microsoft and from investment firm Berkshire Hathaway.

“Microsoft has taken an unprecedented step forward to effectively combat sexual harassment in the workplace,” said Natasha Lamb, managing partner at Arjuna Capital, in a statement. “The transparency report and implementation plan are a leading example for companies to follow.”

Lamb maintains that sexual harassment and gender discrimination is a significant business risk that must be addressed through transparency and accountability. A recent study suggests that companies with high levels of sexual harassment underperform in the stock market — not to mention the harm to victims of harassment.

However, as Arjuna Capital notes in its press release, the report, prepared by law firm ArentFox Schiff LLP, sheds little light on the claims made against Gates.

According to the report, company president Brad Smith met with Gates about the allegations. Gates, the report said, admitted he was involved in the communications and conduct reported by a former employee identified only as “Person A,” but claimed the conduct was consensual.

“In the interests of protecting Person A’s privacy rights and in line with our scope of work, we do not deem it appropriate to disclose any further details beyond the findings of the investigation described above,” the transparency report said.

The report also addresses claims about the hollowness of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s promise to cleanse the company’s toxic culture.

The report states that of the three senior officers discussed — one executive vice president and two corporate vice presidents — one resigned on March 29, 2018 prior to the reporting period and the others on June 8, 2022 and July 5, 2022, respectively.

The allegations against these executives are not addressed in the report, which only contains observations – e.g. B. “There is, and has been, a perception among some employees that the Company tolerates and provides some protection to high-performing leaders who may engage in inappropriate behavior. ” – and suggestions for improvement.

The data is a little more revealing. According to the report, 781 allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination were raised internally from 2019 to 2021. Of these, 446, or 61.86 percent, were classified by Microsoft as “unfounded.” The number of “substantiated” claims found to be in violation of the policy during this period was 140, or 19.42 percent.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), from 2016 to 2020, allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination were considered “no reasonable cause” at rates of 54.44 percent and 64.92 percent, respectively. “Merciful” EEOC claims for sexual harassment and gender discrimination were 23.44 percent and 17.58 percent, respectively.

“Although the categories used by Microsoft and the EEOC are not identical, it appears that the percentage of substantiated complaints at Microsoft is slightly higher for allegations of sexual harassment (44.76 percent vs. 23.44 percent) and lower for discrimination based on discrimination of gender (7.06 percent versus 17.58 percent),” the report said.

If you sort the complaints by company group, the situation in engineering (39.67 percent) is significantly worse than elsewhere – sales (24.55 percent), anonymous/unknown (14.01 percent), marketing (13.45 percent) and corporate (8.32 percent).

The report contains 11 recommendations, including strengthening policies and procedures and increasing the number of women in leadership positions. It also advocates taking steps to minimize the impression that executives are not being held accountable and suggests releasing anonymous data as a remedy to suggest that someone is being punished for something.

“That’s what our review found [Microsoft] strives to follow best practices in these areas and is committed to continuous improvement,” the report concludes.

Katie Moussouris, founder and CEO of Luta Security and former manager of Microsoft’s security program, who was embroiled in a gender discrimination lawsuit against the company for four years starting in 2015, recounted The registry that issuing a report is not sufficient.

“Microsoft still has a very long way to go to be a safe, supportive workplace for women and historically marginalized groups to survive and thrive,” Moussouris said in an email. “This is at best a first step and at worst another deceptive gesture aimed at placating shareholders without making any meaningful change.”

In 2019, after being denied class action status over wage discrepancies and having a decision upheld on appeal, Moussouris and two other plaintiffs dismissed their lawsuits because they saw no way for a law firm to make the case financially viable.

“An increasingly conservative judiciary has severely limited the ability of workers and consumers to file class action lawsuits in recent years, and our case was a victim of that unfortunate legal trend, although the underlying merits have been strong,” she wrote in a blog post afterward this decision. “Gender discrimination in the workplace is very real – but the legal system’s ability to challenge it is under attack.” ® Microsoft publishes first report on sexual harassment and gender • The Register

Rick Schindler

World Time Todays is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button