Jose A. Gonzalez
Microsoft faces allegations of gender discrimination again
The tech industry has long had a reputation for being a boy’s club, and Microsoft is no exception. According to Vox, a leaked email chain brought new allegations of discrimination and harassment into the light just last week.
She asked for advice, she got more stories
It started with a woman at Microsoft asking several female colleagues for career advice. She stated that she had been in the same job for six years, and she did not see any way she could advance at the company. She was looking for help, but what she received back was more stories about gender discrimination and harassment at the tech company.
A coworker asked her twice to sit on his lap in a meeting
Dozens of women replied to her email. A woman described having a coworker asked her to sit in his lap twice during a meeting. A human resources manager was present at the meeting and did not react to the harassment.
Another woman described a coworker threatening to kill her if she did not perform a sexual act on him. This occurred while they were on a business trip. When the woman complained to her boss, he described the behavior as flirting and did nothing. After reporting it to HR, a manager said the company could not do anything about it.
Email thread was 90 pages long
By the time the director of human resources, Kathleen Hogan responded to the email chain, it was 90 pages long. The chain was eventually leaked to the news site Quartz. Hogan vowed the company would investigate each claim of discrimination and harassment described in the email thread.
Microsoft has faced multiple discrimination lawsuits
However, Microsoft has faced other complaints. In March, a marketing manager alleged she was fired after she complained about multiple instances of discrimination at Microsoft. The company denies her claims.
There is also a pay discrimination suit against the company originally filed by a former cybersecurity engineer in 2015. She claimed she was repeatedly passed over for promotions while less qualified men were promoted. Several other women eventually joined the lawsuit, and they too claimed they were paid less or passed over for promotions at Microsoft.
The women want the case to be declared a class action suit. This would allow all the women who worked for Microsoft during that period to become plaintiffs.
Gender-based discrimination is illegal
Men and women are entitled to equal pay for equal work in the U.S. It is illegal to discriminate against someone based on their gender in the workplace, under both California and federal law. Sexual harassment is also prohibited at U.S. employers.
If you have experienced any of these issues, you have a right to fair treatment under the law. You may want to reach out to an attorney who is experienced in employment discrimination cases.