#MeToo: Microsoft Hit With 238 Complaints of Gender Discrimination

An advertisement is played on a set of large screens at the Microsoft office in Cambridge. Reuters file

#MeToo: Microsoft Hit With 238 Complaints of Gender Discrimination

Their latest filing, submitted to the Washington Western District Court yesterday, aims to demonstrate this culture is leading to widespread complaints, revealing there were 238 internal complaints made to Redmond between 2010 and 2016.

Court documents indicate women at Microsoft filed more than 200 complaints about gender discrimination or sexual harassment between 2010 and 2016. Three women, current and former Microsoft employees, are suing the company, alleging systemic gender discrimination against women in engineering jobs that led to lower pay and a stunted pace of promotions.

Microsoft has said that corrective action might be taken even if no policy violation was found, and that the person who filed the complaint might not be informed.

The latest court filings from a gender pay lawsuit in Seattle revealed 238 complaints were filed against the tech giant.

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The two sides are exchanging documents ahead of trial, which has not been scheduled.

For example, after investigating more than a hundred complaints of gender discrimination, Microsoft concluded that only one was "founded".

The plaintiffs attorneys have called the number of complaints "shocking" in the court filings and the response by Microsoft's investigations team "lackluster", according to Reuters.

Companies generally keep information about internal discrimination complaints private, so it is unclear how the number of complaints at Microsoft compares to competitors.

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Microsoft said the plaintiffs can not 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.

Microsoft said it spends $55m a year on "innovative diversity and inclusion programmes", had company-wide unconscious bias training and created a "robust internal investigation process to address employee concerns".

The firm's attorneys also argued that the plaintiffs could not find practices that affected enough employees for a class action suit, and pointed out that it had spent $55 million annually to provide inclusionary causes.

A Microsoft spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment. To ensure that victims would be more comfortable coming forward the Microsoft waived the requirement for pre-dispute arbitration agreements in sexual harassment claims.

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Microsoft had argued the numbers shouldn't be released as they might deter it from reporting future abuses, but Reuters reported that a court-appointed official said this was "far too remote a competitive or business harm".

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