Microsoft, as well as the rest of the tech industry, has made a hullabaloo about leveling the playing field for gender diversity recently, but it despite countless pledges and public mandates, the company appears to be falling short of its envisioned work environment.
According to a report from Reuters earlier this week, women who worked at US-based Microsoft employment have filed 238 discrimination and harassment complaints over the last six years.
The harassment and discrimination complaints were filed internally and have come over the period between 2010 through 2016. A federal lawsuit was filed in 2015 but in the wake of #timesup and #metoo movements, Microsoft’s alleged discriminatory practices are getting a much bigger light shun upon them.
With over 230 complaints in hand, several attorneys for the numerous plaintiffs are pushing forward to obtain a class action lawsuit status that would cover up to or exceed more than 8,000 women.
Despite, the sheer number of complaints the possibility of class action lawsuit, Microsoft contends that only one of the 118 gender discrimination complaints filed by women was founded in a policy violation. Unfortunately, due to the sensitive nature of such gender complaints, we are unaware of the total number of alleged infractions within the company as well as where the currently discovered numbers rank among other big named tech companies.
What we do know is that Microsoft spends upwards of $55 million a year to foster diversity and inclusion based on court filings.
A trial has yet to be scheduled and both sides of this legal dispute are exchanging documents in preparation.
Microsoft has weathered a plethora of class action lawsuits but previous issues were typically matters of marketing, production cycles, legalese over products and a handful of other things the company could directly adjust. However, gender harassment and discrimination appear to be a systemic shortcoming that’s going to take more than adding a disclaimer in Windows or changing a few words in a changelog.
Further reading: gender, Microsoft, Reuters