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Microsoft commissions third-party review of its harassment and discrimination policies

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Microsoft’s board of administrators is hiring a legislation agency to overview the corporate’s insurance policies on sexual harassment and discrimination after years of complaints of wrongdoing on the firm. The review, which will likely be performed by legislation agency Arent Fox, will embrace a public transparency report “assessing the effectiveness of the corporate’s office sexual harassment and gender discrimination insurance policies, coaching, and associated insurance policies.”

It would additionally embrace an evaluation of Microsoft’s earlier investigation into allegations towards the corporate’s co-founder and former CEO Invoice Gates. GeekWire reports that this overview gained’t reinvestigate Gates’ affair with an organization worker within the yr 2000. Invoice Gates resigned from the Microsoft board in March 2020, and reportedly left earlier than Microsoft had accomplished its investigation.

The board report can even look at a number of allegations of discrimination and harassment that have been surfaced in an internal Microsoft email chain in 2019. Allegations of sexual harassment, tales about demeaning conduct, and sexist feedback have been all highlighted within the electronic mail chain the place Microsoft staff complained the corporate didn’t take any motion in lots of instances.

Microsoft was additionally the topic of a five-year lawsuit over honest pay that was initially filed in 2015. The lawsuit, filed by former Microsoft worker Katie Moussouris, claimed that the corporate unfairly discriminated towards feminine staff due to their gender. Moussouris dropped her case in 2020, however continues to be fighting for fair pay throughout the tech trade.

“We’re dedicated not simply to reviewing the report however studying from the evaluation so we are able to proceed to enhance the experiences of our staff,” says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a press release accompanying the announcement of the review. “I embrace this complete overview as a chance to proceed to get higher”.

Right here’s what Microsoft says its overview will handle:

  • “It would result in the general public launch of a transparency report assessing the effectiveness of the corporate’s office sexual harassment and gender discrimination insurance policies, coaching, and associated insurance policies. This may embrace a overview of considerations raised by staff in 2019 within the “In Want of Help” electronic mail thread, steps the corporate has taken to reply to these considerations, and extra steps that would additional strengthen these safeguards. The overview can even embrace an evaluation of insurance policies, practices, and commitments to create a secure, inclusive work atmosphere.”
  • “The report will summarize the outcomes of any sexual harassment investigations throughout this similar timeframe towards members of the Board of Administrators and the corporate’s Senior Management Crew, together with the allegations {that a} Board committee investigated starting in 2019 involving Invoice Gates.”
  • “It would assess the steps which have been taken to carry staff, together with executives, accountable for sexual harassment or gender discrimination.”
  • “The report will embrace information on the variety of sexual harassment instances investigated and their decision.”

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