Women sue Microsoft: over 200 discrimination complaints filed in court

Female Microsoft employees filed hundreds of harassment and discrimination complaints, lawsuit says

Ex-staffers slam Microsoft's 'lackluster' response to stacks of internal complaints

Between 2010 and 2016, women in technical jobs at the company lodged 108 complaints of sexual harassment, 119 complaints of gender discrimination, eight complaints of retaliation and three complaints of pregnancy discrimination.

They have accused Microsoft of running a "common, discriminatory pay and promotions process" that is "unreliable" and "based on invalid criteria", resulting in lower pay and fewer promotions for women.

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.

Microsoft denies it had any such policy in place, but the plaintiff's attorneys are seeking to proceed the case as a class action lawsuit that would cover more 8,000 women out of Microsoft's total U.S. workforce of 74,000 employees.

The scope of women's complaints against the company was made public Monday as part of an unsealing of documents in an ongoing lawsuit against Microsoft.

Although the trial has not been scheduled yet, the two sides of exchanging documents are available to the public. In total, between 2010 and 2016, Microsoft received 238 complaints of discriminations or sexual harassment.

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Other tech companies have generally not revealed the number of internal discrimination complaints filed by employees, Reuters pointed out Tuesday when it first reported the unsealed information in Microsoft's case. The company says it spends more than $55 million a year to promote diversity and inclusion, and last year waived the requirement for pre-dispute arbitration agreements in sexual harassment claims, which means that in theory, victims may be more comfortable coming forward with complaints.

In the documents, which come from Microsoft's human resources department, only one of the 118 gender discrimination complaints was described as "founded" by the company. A Microsoft spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

US District Judge James Robart has yet to rule on the plaintiff's request for class action status - if allowed, it could cover more than 8,000 women.

Microsoft had argued that the number of womens' human resources complaints should be secret because publicizing the outcomes could deter employees from reporting future abuses. We guess also working for a company which is soft on sex pests. However, a court-appointed official found the situation to be too far from a competitive or business harm to keep the information private.

Matters have not been helped after Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella landed himself in hot water in 2014 for saying that women didn't need to ask for a raise and should just trust the system to pay them well. "Because that's good karma".

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