Judge criticizes Microsoft in gender-discrimination suit for over-aggressive lawyers

In a story by the Seattle Times, Microsoft is taking heat from a judge in a gender-discrimination case. In June 2016, U.S. District Judge James Robart ordered Microsoft to turn over documents dating back to January 2010 related to the case.

The gender-discrimination case was brought by three former Microsoft employees who allege that Microsoft discriminated against women in technical roles and promoted and paid male employees at higher rates, even though the men lacked the experience and oftentimes had work performance issues. Microsoft denies any wrongdoing.

In the US District Court in Seattle, Microsoft has dragged its feet in turning over the requested documents and Judge Robart blasted Microsoft for the delay in a hearing on September 7, 2016. The law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe are representing Microsoft and believed that they were complying with the judge’s order.

According to the court transcript, Judge Robart disagrees:

“Well, it is clear that I do not speak Orrick. It is also clear to me, at this point, that the Orrick firm doesn’t speak English. I am sincere in my concern over the frequency with which Microsoft has placed this court in having to go back and remedy situations which appear to me to be the result of over-aggressive lawyers.”

In an official statement, Microsoft indicated that it would  “continue to cooperate with plaintiffs’ counsel to reach a reasonable resolution” relating to the document issues. In August 2016, the Department of Labor found some evidence of alleged gender discrimination at Microsoft. However, the Department of Labor did not indicate in what division of Microsoft the alleged gender discrimination was occurring nor whether any action will be taken.

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Why is Microsoft being uncooperative in this court case?