238 women at Microsoft filed complain against gender discrimination, sexual harassment

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Mar 13, 2018, 03:37 AM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Women at Microsoft Corp working in US-based technical jobs filed 238 internal complaints about gender discrimination or sexual harassment between 2010 and 2016, according to court filings made public on Monday.

The figure was suggested by plaintiffs suing Microsoft for refusing pay raises or promotions to women, although, the company has denied these allegations. 

The charges were made in 2015 in Seattle federal court, is attracting wider attention after a series of powerful men have left or been fired from their jobs in entertainment, the media and politics for sexual misconduct. 

More than 8,000 women could be covered in the lawsuit which Plaintiffs have been pushing to go ahead with. Microsoft's practices made public on Monday in legal filings submitted as part of that process.

Out of 118 gender discrimination complaints filed by women at Microsoft, only one was deemed "founded" by the company, according to details in the unsealed court filings.

Attorneys for the women called the number of complaints "shocking" in the court filings and the response by Microsoft's investigations team "lackluster."

Microsoft said in court filings that the plaintiffs did not identify practices that impact enough employees to warrant a class action and that it spends more than $55 million per year to promote diversity and inclusion. The company had about 74,000 U.S. employees at the end of last year.

Microsoft said the plaintiffs cannot cite one example of a pay or promotion problem in which Microsoft's investigations team should have found a violation of company policy, but did not. A Microsoft spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

Just last week, Microsoft released a special version last week of a twice-monthly published podcast that focuses on women in business and technology. The podcast celebrates International Women’s Day.

The podcast is said to be hosted by Colleen O’Brien and Sonia Dara. The duo interviewed Toni Townes-Whitley, who holds the new role of corporate vice president of industry at Microsoft. The goal of the team is to flow with the changes in a variety of industries.  

But Townes-Whitley has another charter to keep woman excited about technology. She refers to it in the podcast as the “pink color.”

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