- Women at Microsoft filed 238 internal complaints against the company alleging gender discrimination or sexual harassment between 2010 and 2016, reports Reuters. Those numbers were revealed in court filings submitted as part of an ongoing putative collective action. The law suit alleges that Microsoft systemically denied promotions and pay raises to women and, if certified as a class action, could include up to 8,000 employees. Microsoft denies the claims, according to Reuters.
- Of those 238 complaints, 118 alleged gender discrimination. The company found only one to have merit. It's not clear how those numbers stack up against other employers, but the plaintiffs say Microsoft's response to the complaints was "lackluster."
- However, Microsoft has come out swinging since the court docs were revealed. Microsoft CHRO Kathleen Hogan sent an email to the company (that was then published on the company's website) explaining the process it follows when concerns are raised and revealing a few statistics from the past year regarding complaints and the process followed.
The tech industry is no stranger to gender discrimination claims and sexual harassment claims. From Uber to Google, it remains a seemingly pervasive problem; Google, for example, was sued over similar gender discrimination claims. And as the #MeToo movement takes hold, employers may well be seeing an increase in employees speaking up with these complaints. In response, savvy employers have tried to enter the dialogue themselves, explaining their processes to better provide context when able.
For HR's part, training and policies are certainly important, but a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture can be long-term goals that work to combat this problem. That culture, however, has to be in place at all levels of an organization, Jonathan Segal, a partner at Duane Morris LLP, previously told HR Dive.
Employers must address where the values spelled out in policies intersect with culture, Segal said, and “[i]f leadership doesn't embrace it, policies and reporting procedures are no good,” Segal says.