Microsoft Received Hundreds of Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination Complaints, Lawsuit Says

Microsoft Received Hundreds of Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination Complaints, Lawsuit Says

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.

Microsoft's stock closed at $94.41 per share on Tuesday. The complaints in question were made between 2010 and 2016, and include systemically denying pay increases and promotions to women working in the company.

The plaintiffs' suit seeks class-action status, a designation that could add more than 8,600 women to the case.

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. More details about Microsoft's human resources practices were made public on Monday in legal filings submitted as part of that process.

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

The lawsuit calls the number of harassment and discrimination complaints "shocking" and describes the response from Microsoft's employment relations investigations team as "lackluster". Only one out of 118 gender discrimination claims were "founded" by the software giant, according to unsealed court documents.

Microsoft has since denied the allegations, saying the plaintiffs have yet to find an instance of a promotion which violated company standards. Microsoft adds that the plaintiffs have not identified practices "that impact enough employees" to warrant a class action lawsuit against it.

Microsoft's case is one of many piling up against giant companies in the technology industry, which has come under fire in recent years for its dearth of female and minority employees and for its culture, which some say is hostile toward those groups.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to TheWrap's request for comment.

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". To ensure that victims would be more comfortable coming forward the Microsoft waived the requirement for pre-dispute arbitration agreements in sexual harassment claims. One of the initial "super powers" that, quite frankly, women [who] don't ask for a raise have.

"It's not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along", Nadella said.

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