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Microsoft shareholders shine a light on company's sexual harassment policies' effectiveness

The Visitor’s Center at Microsoft Headquarters campus is pictured July 17, 2014 in Redmond, Washington.
The Visitor’s Center at Microsoft Headquarters campus is pictured July 17, 2014 in Redmond, Washington. (Image credit: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images for Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Shareholders want to know how effective Microsoft's sexual harassment policies are.
  • Roughly 80% of voters were in favor of Microsoft having to produce a report detailing current policy effectiveness.
  • This move comes not long after Activision dominated news cycles for what have been revealed to be its company-wide, years-long coverups of various sexual harassment incidents.

Companies are after environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies more than ever, with social capital gains seemingly being at the forefront of many businesses' minds. And on the other side of that same coin, companies are looking at the Activision Blizzard King situation right now, getting a firsthand glimpse at what PR nightmares await when sexual harassment incidents spiral out of control.

These external factors may have played a part in shareholder-resolution-filer Arjuna Capital's sexual harassment policy report proposal winning over Microsoft shareholders. Arjuna Capital proposed that Microsoft release a report detailing how its policies are (or aren't) effectively combatting sexual harassment in its work environments. Roughly 80% of shareholders voted in favor of that report proposal, as can be seen in a Microsoft-submitted SEC filing (via Reuters).

As it happens, Microsoft already does similar data-sharing that tracks annual sexual harassment claims, with the results of those reports set to become public. And with relation to the recent Activision situation, Microsoft made sure to publicly weigh in on that as well, making its stance clear when it came to ESG policies on sexual harassment. The head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, announced his brand's displeasure with the way Activision's situation was unfurling and stated that Xbox was "evaluating all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments."

In short, sexual harassment that causes PR kerfuffles is looking to receive more attention than before.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

2 Comments
  • In most companies, rule one is: never embarrass the boss.
    Stockholders are the boss' boss.
    So no, it's not good to get the Activision kind of crapstorm.
  • I have worked in a Mid-West based, international company that were both conservative and progressive as they were a design company. We had trans-gender policy a decade ago before the whole trans-rights thing became popular. I was use to very professional behavior in the workplace. So it was weird when I went to this out of state training session and someone there was saying all of these sexually inappropriate things. My co-working an I were just flabbergasted. You have to be a cave-man to think this is OK in this day in age.