Microsoft to publish sexual harassment data after Bill Gates scandal

WION Web Team
California, United StatesUpdated: Dec 02, 2021, 08:36 PM IST

Microsoft logo Photograph:(Reuters)

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The company passed a resolution to address more transparently such claims through independent investigations and public reporting

In a rare win for activist shareholders, Microsoft Inc has agreed on better reporting of sexual harassment data. 

They have passed a resolution to address more transparently such claims through independent investigations and public reporting.

According to a regulatory filing by the company, the proposal received 77.97 per cent in favour.

It issued a statement saying, ''While Microsoft has conducted prior internal investigations into sexual harassment and gender discrimination allegations, it has failed to report transparently on any independent investigations to employees and investors.''

“To avoid legal and reputational risk and maintain shareholder value, Microsoft must create a culture of accountability and transparency, protecting employees from harassment and discrimination.”

It comes after reports had emerged that the company's co-founder Bill Gates had tried to start a relationship with an employee in 2000.

Arjuna Capital had sought a report from the software firm on the effectiveness of its policies to battle sexual harassment in the workplace.

It is a Boston-based investment adviser and frequent filer of shareholder resolutions pressing companies for changes like disclosing more data on pay equity.

Microsoft already internally shares annual data on the volume of sexual harassment concerns raised and the results of the investigations into them. It has now adopted plans to make that data public.

The vote comes as big mutual fund firms increasingly support investor challenges to companies on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues and as employees of big tech firms stage walkouts protesting their tackling of sexual harassment claims.

A similar proposal had been introduced in automaker Tesla Inc last year stating that support for a shareholder resolution on how it handles arbitration to resolve workplace complaints of harassment and discrimination rose to 46 per cent of votes cast at its annual meeting, up from 27 per cent.

(With inputs from agencies)