Microsoft Lets a Third Party Review Its Harassment and Discrimination Policy

Microsoft’s board of directors hires a law firm to review the company’s policies on sexual harassment and discrimination after years of complaints of misconduct at the company. the review, which will be conducted by law firm Arent Fox, will include a public transparency report “assessing the effectiveness of the company’s policies on sexual harassment and gender discrimination, training and related policies.”

It also includes a review of Microsoft’s previous investigation into allegations against the company’s co-founder and former CEO Bill Gates. GeekWire reports that this review will not re-examine Gates’ affair with an employee of the company in the year 2000. Bill Gates resigned from Microsoft’s board of directors in March 2020 and reportedly left before Microsoft completed its investigation.

The board report will also investigate multiple discrimination and harassment allegations that surfaced in an internal Microsoft email chain in 2019. Allegations of sexual harassment, stories of demeaning behavior and sexist comments were all highlighted in the email chain where Microsoft employees complained about the company taking no action in many cases.

Microsoft was also the subject of a five-year fair pay lawsuit originally filed in 2015. The lawsuit, filed by former Microsoft employee Katie Moussouris, alleged that the company unfairly discriminated against female employees because of their gender. Moussouris dropped her case in 2020 but is still fighting for fair wages in the tech industry.

“We are committed to not only reviewing the report, but learning from the review so we can continue to improve our employees’ experiences,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a statement to the company. review announcement. “I embrace this comprehensive review as an opportunity to get better and better.”

Here’s what Microsoft says the review will cover:

  • “It will lead to the public release of a transparency report assessing the effectiveness of the company’s policies on sexual harassment and discrimination based on gender, training and related policies. This includes a review of concerns raised by employees in the “In Need of Assistance” email thread in 2019, steps the company has taken to respond to those concerns, and additional steps that could further enhance these safeguards strengthen. The assessment also includes an analysis of policies, practices and commitments to create a safe, inclusive work environment.”
  • “The report will summarize the results of all sexual harassment investigations during the same time period against members of the company’s Board of Directors and Senior Leadership Team, including the allegations that a board committee investigated as of 2019 involving Bill Gates.”
  • “It will review steps taken to hold employees, including executives, accountable for sexual harassment or gender discrimination.”
  • “The report will include data on the number of sexual harassment cases investigated and their resolution.”

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