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Microsoft caught in crosshairs of gender discrimination claims amidst #MeToo movement

Microsoft logo at Ignite
Microsoft logo at Ignite (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft Logo

Microsoft Logo (Image credit: Windows Central)

I have made it my business to report on the admirable efforts Microsoft has made to embrace overlooked populations such as African Americans and people with disabilities. Hiring practices, support organizations, scholarships, intentional product design and more have been infused with Microsoft's inclusion mission.

Connecting Black History to a Microsoft Future honored African Americans during Black History Month. Microsoft's AI platform, Cognitive Services and innovative apps have helped people with blindness and deafness. Hiring practices have reached people with autism and other disabilities. The company has helped children with Cystic Fibrosis and taught children who are blind how to code. Project Emma is helping people with Parkinson's Disease. And Microsoft helped give people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) their mobility.

Microsoft's inclusion efforts have earned it a prestigious award

With such an admirable portfolio of inclusion efforts that suggests Microsoft's culture nurtures honoring the value of all people, how is it that hundreds of women have alleged the company has sexually discriminated against them?

"Me Too"; what women are saying

In 2015 a proposed class action lawsuit, which could cover more than 8000 women, was filed by former Microsoft employee Katherine Moussouris (Moussouris v. Microsoft) claiming a range of acts of discrimination.

The #MeToo movement has emboldened thousands of women and men to expose the sexual misconduct of celebrities, leaders of industry, high profile individuals and the neighbor next door. And it is the pervasive backdrop amplifying the claims of hundreds of women who are accusing Microsoft of various forms of sexual discrimination.

Between 2010 and 2016 nearly 240 women at Microsoft have reportedly made, according to Reuters:

  • 108 complaints of sexual harassment.
  • 119 complaints of gender discrimination.
  • Eight complaints of retaliation.
  • Three complaints of pregnancy discrimination.

Furthermore, four women submitted individual sexual harassment complaints about a male employee they each claimed touched them inappropriately. And another male employee was investigated for harassing behavior in a separate case. In both these cases ERIT, Microsoft's internal investigation unit, did not find that the alleged conduct was a policy violation. In fact, of the 119 gender discrimination claims leveled against the company Microsoft's internal investigation determined that only one was founded.

Of course, we don't know the facts of any of these claims and are not in the position to determine their legitimacy. But it has only been since December 2017 that Microsoft ended a practice of forced arbitration in gender discrimination cases which traditionally favors the corporation. (Notably other claims like racial discrimination are still subject to arbitration).

Forced arbitration favored Microsoft

Arbitration is a private form of dispute resolution that avoids the court system. It originated to expedite disputes in the corporate sector. Over the years it has evolved into a system that leverages the power of multibillion-dollar corporations to compel individuals to comply with arbitration decisions rather than seeking resolution via the courts. Such cases are hidden from the public, excluded from class-action claims and makes it difficult to find out about sexual misconduct claims in corporations.

Sadly, this systemic means of dispute resolution, even in the case of sexual discrimination claims, usually results in decisions that favor corporations like Microsoft. Thus, if applicable here, it is not surprising that Microsoft's own investigations haven't yielded any self-incriminating findings.

It's also not surprising, given this system, that Microsoft stated that the plaintiffs didn't identify practices that impact enough employees to warrant a class action suit. And of specific discrimination claims that women have been passed over for pay raises or promotions Microsoft said that plaintiffs were unable to provide one example of a violation of company policy.

As a further defense against these claims, Microsoft touts the $55 million a year it spends on inclusion efforts. I've highlighted and celebrated those varied investments. Still, if the allegations against Microsoft are true, perhaps the portion of those millions allocated to promote character qualities in employees to preclude sexual harassment and discrimination were insufficient for the task. Or perhaps it is a problem that runs deeper than even copious amounts of money can reach.

Microsoft, make it right

Microsoft, if your culture is such that sexual harassment and discrimination are as present, as these allegations claim, make it right. No company is perfect, but no company should be so imperfect that harassment and discrimination against women is acceptable within the company's culture. Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith admitted that the #MeToo movement has led Microsoft to examine itself and listen to its employees. Michael Subit Moussouris' lawyer wrote:

Company records indicate that women at Microsoft are sexualized by their male managers and co-workers, leading to a substantial number of incidents of alleged sexual harassment, and even several incidents of sexual assault, that often go unpunished.

I concede that these allegations from hundreds of women over the span of several years are as yet unproven in the courts. But if they are true, I submit that it would be more consistent with the image of a company that has publicly committed to a mission of inclusion and helping others to do more, to make it right.

The other option is investing money and time and manipulating legalese to villainize these women in a strategically executed public fight. In the context of a world permeated with the voices of the #MeToo movement, even if you win, Microsoft, in the court of public opinion you may lose.

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!

123 Comments
  • Want to comment but afraid Facebook will data mine and link my unlinked account to my real info and give my employers the info on request. So instead I say nothing in case I offend anyone, and I will not wish a good weekend because it happens to be Easter weekend and lest I be associated as a Christian majority suppressing the hare Krishna folks that I didn't know still existed I will not even wish a good weekend. Thanks (my typical email closer for all situations due to its friendly context and ambiguous nature).
  • Disclaimer: I work for MS. I'm not involved in anything related to this article, and I am just a single engineer (so not someone with any kind of clout with anything related to this article). My thoughts are my own, and not Microsoft's. I just want to point out that Microsoft does seem to be treating this as a huge issue. In response to the very same Reuters article used by Jason, Kathleen Hogan (Head of HR, with some cutesy title of Chief Person Officer or something like that) sent an email to the entire company linking to it, linking to all the pathways for someone to raise concerns (there are several), but also making claims that the data in that article is very one sided and isn't the entire dataset. I didn't pull up the email right now, but I remember her describing it something along the lines of a cherry picked subset of a very small portion of the data the prosecution had, which was a very small subset of all the data. In other words the statistics there are grossly misrepresented. I don't know if that's true or not, because I haven't seen anyone's sets of data, but I would just caution that people take things with a grain of salt. Personally I'm taking a wait and see approach before I decide how to react to this. I feel like there's just not enough established truth to go on. To Jason's credit he mentions a few times that so far these are allegations and nothing else, and any outrage should be reserved until things are known or not. That's basically my take as well. Anecdotally, there are a lot more men than women on my team (no surprise, as that's the case in the industry in general). That said, my direct manager is a woman and there's another woman on my immediate team of about 6. I've never personally witnessed any of the women at the site (on my team or other teams) treated in any way that would be harrassment or undesired. Obviously there could be stuff I don't see, but I can't comment on that.
  • Dear ms engineer, 2 things. One, this also may be related to pay equality. And two, walk up to nadella and kick him in the nuts for me. Thanks. He squandered so many opportunities in the mobile/wearable segments.
  • Hi Steve Adams, You're correct, some of it may be related to pay equity. I don't have enough insight into what other people make to comment on that, so I chose to ignore it. I probably should have called that out more clearly. Good catch. I started at MS after Satya was already CEO, so I can't speak for how it was before. That said, I really like Satya for a lot of reasons. First, I think he's a genuine human being. When others talk of compassion or empathy or doing things people first I often have the jaded feeling that they're just saying what they think they need to say, but with Satya I believe him. I also think he happens to have done really good things for the company (stock price and all that). Finally, I think consumers aren't as far from the mind of Microsoft as people here seem to believe. I'm sure I'll get accused of bias, and that's fair. All that said, if I ever have a chance to talk to Satya Nadella I'll say, "Hi, Steve Adams wants me to give you a swift kick to the jimmies. In an effort to save my job I won't physically do it, but consider yourself jimmy-kicked, compliments of Steve." Is that a good enough compromise? I'll even report back here how it goes.
  • I personally know of 2 women that were hired as escalation engineers at Microsoft. They were hired over a couple of men i know that had much more experience and knowledge, just to fill that diversity quota. I'm all for getting more women in the industry, but not when its at the expense of others that have better qualifications. From what i hear, the white male and Indian male quota is still filled so its pretty much a "don't bother" situation for those 2 groups.
  • I think at my site the leadership gets more excited over Latin, black or female candidates than Asian or white males. On the flip side I'm a white male who got hired a little over 3 years ago. I know of several white and/or Asian males who have been hired since. In fact at my site we have the least black representation comparative to national averages (very low black population here, so it's probably close to inline for local population averages), only a few women, and some Hispanics (probably at or above the local population averages), but we're still mostly white or Asian males. I'm against favoritism in any direction, but we're a long way away from "don't bother" if you're white or Asian and also a man.
  • I spent a huge chunk of my career at MS. I was involved in several interview loops. I never once saw them hire someone less qualified to meet any 'diversity quota'. We always hired the best candidates, and as our intake process improved its ability to reach other communities, our team naturally became more diverse. There was never any evidence quotas existed in any form. It's too bad your male friends can't accept that there are more qualified females who apparently interview better in the world though.
  • Awesome. Thanks for having a sense of humour. Ha ha. I am very disappointed how the Nokia deal went down. Nokia had my all time favourite phone (1020). It was much better than my current iPhone. However , the total lack of software ruined the phone. Too bad too. The same goes for the surface as a tablet. Terrible since the app catalog is not there compared to the iPad. The surface is much better at doing things compared to the iPad however.
  • Disappointed is an understatement. But Nokia is back, and i just can't wait to get my hands on the 8 sirocco when it gets released Down under. Be ditching my old S6, still keep my Windows phone in my obsoletes cupboard.
  • Get over it
  • Not everyone is as good as you are at, getting over it.
  • A person who now works at Google, once worked at Microsoft. He told me there was a female employer who only hired women even if male applicants were more qualified. I hate feminism. I am all for inclusion, but not if it means hiring on the base of race/sex. Include the most qualified, whether it be a black woman, or (God forbid) a straight white male.
  • I'm a feminist, and pro-feminism. Hiring only women just because they're women despite having equally-qualified male applicants is NOT feminism, it's sexism and potentially misandry. It's important to recognise when things done in the name of feminism (or interpreted as feminism) are actually something else. Remember: Feminism is about equity for all genders and sexes, not just women. It just so happens thay thing have been unequal (skewed against women) for a long time. But true feminism NEVER encourages favouring women over men. It does sometimes require extra consideration towards women, but only to counteract the existing biased consideration towards men and bring society back to an equitable level.
  • Well said!
  • 3rd wave feminism is really bad.
  • LOL a male feminist. Fighting against yourself huh smarty guy?
  • Feminism benefits men as well.
  • No, not at all.
  • Omg. Just stop dude.
  • Well that's a wholly convincing argument.
  • Please stop.
  • You should cut your carrot and throw it to the rabbits, cause it probably never worked from the start so why keep something that doesn't work at all ? heck ditch the brain cabbage as well, after all recycle to help the earth CAUSE THE EARTH NEEDS EQUALITY TOOO! #meetooearthequality
  • comment deleted per
  • You do realise that other people's successes aren't your failures? Most supporters of equal rights want the people with fewer rights elevated to be on par, not the People with more to be lowered. How is it against a man's interests to think women should be treated equally?
  • Yes women aren't treated equal. They are treated more than equal in many of life situations. If women were treated equal they would cry.
  • Agreed.
    Women arn't drafted
    Women are respected
    Women recieve less harsh prison sentences for the same crimes
    Women almost always get the kids in a divorce
    93% of workforce deaths are by men
    Women have way more funding and effort put into women's diseases as opposed to men.
    I could go on forever.
  • Yawn.
  • treated equally ? you mean if a woman decides to go into a bar and pull a fist fight with a guy, he should punch her just like he punches dudes ? are you one of those brain dead zombies ? or just retarded ? , as bebochek said most men already treat women much more better than "equally" , its a world where most of the men take the "harsh" work and let the women have the less "harsh" work least when it comes to the physical labor kind.. yet some people like you scream for equality ? you must be having more than a few screws loose. oh btw i wouldn't give a darn about anyone's success heck i don't give a darn about what people do with their lives but don't frigging push your nonsense shiet all over the place cause i hate whining losers regardless of gender, cause if a girl complains she gets pampered or ignored in the worst case but when a guy does it he'd get a rude awakening which never ends nicely, at all. I like equality and i treat everyone the same way and that depends on how they are as people, there are people i like .. and there are people i don't like, so f*k off the internet and realize the f*k that life is harsh on everyone equally, look at Africa you dweeb, there are starving kids in Africa, heck all around the world there are starving kids and those kids are males and females so what the f*k are you talking about feminism ? .. women already have "feminist" rights and people who represent females, who complain and fight the system to make sure that women are supported by all means, yet men don't have massive rights groups , nobody talking shiet for men even when there is an overflow of systems working purely for the sake of female rights which basically sends gender equality into an abysmal hell, you want facts ? look at japan, do you know why they have a high suicide rate which also has more than double the digits on male numbers stats, which is only a part of the whole story of what goes in that country and i've seen it, it's what happens when feminism becomes reality and where every male whether innocent or not, can be simply destroyed in a moments notice, that isn't gender equality; it is chaos and the declining population of japan pays for that ignorance they have created by their own doing. You don't obviously read news or watch news but intend to live in your own dream world of some kind of nonsense belief of oppression or need to paint someone as the antagonist but in reality you are just as worse as any other person who is guilty of treating others based on race/age/gender differently. The only places on earth that needs to focus on protecting/standing up for female rights would be the middle east and some south east asian countries as well, no offense but this is simply facts that show up on the news papers , TV/internet of how females had been treated brutally in these countries and those are the places that really need this kind of enthusiasm.
  • How are women oppressed?
  • What is the male equivalent of a feminist? You know, someone (females as well) who take up male gender rights and equality?
  • That's the funny thing , where the Frigging heck are males rights ? who stands up for males when they are oppressed ? it is possible cause not every male is capable of defending themselves, whether it be physically or mentally; abuse is abuse. yet no male representation for male rights and no massive groups that talk for the sake of males and their rights.
  • We just dont care because we dont whine about everything, and neither do most women.
  • Men's rights are the default. That's the point.
  • w t f ? males rights are the default ? w t f are you even talking about, are you high or just retarded ?.
  • It's not my job to educate you, you have Google, I suggest you use it.
  • neither is it my job to educate you but for the sake of arguments you should look up japan, a place where feminism maybe at times more closer to reality than others; we have the fun park "suicide forest" and then we have the male suicide rates that are more than double digits over females included that japans birth rate decline is because males are forced into a situation where they cannot approach females; they cannot look at them or smile or talk to them cause there is a chance some person who would overreact and call the cops on em calling it as harassment and I'm not saying this is always the case but there is more activity towards this kind of overreaction in places like japan but it doesn't mean that there is no crimes committed by males either, this information is freely available on "google, i suggest you use it" or do you want a search term for starters "34% of Japanese men afraid of their female colleagues" or "why is the male suicide rate so high" else "Loveless and Single—and Happy That Way | Nippon.com" , males aren't default bullsh!t does that mean race equality has become reality.. NO! you buffoon, we can't get to make the law provide better equality for other races and you talking about this **** ? how about support the "__ lives matter " cause , cause that seems even more convincing of how to imply that a certain group of people/ethnic lives matter over the others just like how feminism focuses on females only; yet again another implication that says " females only matter" it only leads to one path and that's the inflation of certain peoples ego, not the equality of anyone, if there needs to be any sort of rights it should be called "Human rights" and that is what should be pushed forward not any kind of different labels that implies or creates the question in the minds of other genders "does this mean our rights don't matter" or the inflated egos of some people in those groups who promote their own rights or simple frustration, who would come to a thought of "hate the males for having rights , hate the males for having anything, hate the males for existing" , yes lets promote more hatred and a good day to you too, sheep.
  • Yes, I am aware that some men in Japan are so strongly opposed to treating women as equals that they would rather live lonely, depressing lives than engage in relationships. On the plus side, women's lives in Japan have increased in quality considerably. Hopefully these men (and its certainly not all or even most of them) will eventually realize that treating women as their equals and demonstrating respect is beneficial to both of them so they can engage in healthy, rewarding relationships.
  • Don't get me wrong but i like the word equality but i don't seem to like this word called "feminism" cause its clearly something that implies "female" clearly the objective here is to refer to female and female only so it'd be quite clear as "____ lives matter" seems like the same kind of nonsense that went on between certain groups of people where as it should have been like "all lives matter". Being a person who is into equality is something that's considerable as being a decent/morally upstanding human being, but now when people come out as a feminist it has started to mean only one thing, "O M G! females need more! of whatever the f*k the guys are getting and we need it better! cause the world is harsh to us" is the nonsense propaganda in it, nothing less than spoiled brats thinking they get treated worse but in reality , its the harsh reality of life; face it like a frigging woman or man and stop trying to be a f*king loser.
    Feminist better grow up into proper women and stop being spoiled brats on the media or internet screaming out how they want equality while all they want is to be pampered with higher pay while doing less shifts/days or more comfort and do less work then call it "equality" cause some people out there gotta enjoy that bullshiet belief of being the victim in everything "oooh they are out to get me cause im this or that" guess what there is some loser out there who is bullied and forced into suicide regardless of gender, it's time to wake up from the dream and realize that real women don't act like pathetic losers or complain/rant all the time, instead they make change and get respected for it and they do it all without complaining about how the world is being unfair to them cause they are wise enough to know that the world is unfair to everyone regardless of race/gender/age because that's life; its harsh and its fast. p.s i love my mom and dad but that doesn't mean I'd treat her any different than my dad and that's the frigging logic of equality, capisce you brain dead zombies.
  • First, thank you Jason. Second, thank you to all who have spoken out against this discrimination. SnipingNinjaX1, I'm a feminist. No excuses, no justification for misogynistic outlook. I've dealt with this issue on the other side - as the investigator. It's real. It needs to stop.
  • You're welcome Nelle.
  • Serves them right.
    They keep pandering to these idiotic SJW-policies they'll eventually be burned by them.
    Third wave feminists - like the idiots of the "MeToo" movement - are nothing more than a terrorist lynch mob. You can not reason with terrorists. Microsoft kept promoting SJW-bullsh*t policies instead of merit, now they'll get their reward for it.
  • The third wave feminist movement definitely has issues, though I suspect it's the vocal minority that cause them. However, the MeToo movement is about people speaking out about sexual assaults and rapes they've endured... Again, there are probably a minority who abuse the movement, but to label everyone who's part of it a "terrorist" or an"idiot" is either incredibly ignorant or incredibly nasty.
  • This is agreeable to 20000%
  • I've never seen Microsoft push anything except merit in their policies. I'm sorry if it upsets you that it turns out more women and minorities have merit than expected.
  • can't u cool kid?
  • Written policies often don’t align with what is executed, especially with the brouhaha over diversity. I’m sure Bernie Madoff’s “policies” were legit, as well.
  • Except I am not only addressing policy, I'm addressing my actual experience as someone who has participated in hiring loops at MS, and at my current company as well (more than 140 of them to date).
  • SJW are like ****, really sorry to say it but it seems like they were not taught about **** in school. They act just like'em.
  • Anyone who says "SJW" like it's a bad thing is a clear retard.
  • /Googles/
    "Urban define an Social justice warrior " :
    /First link search result/
    "A person who uses the fight for civil rights as an excuse to be rude, condescending, and sometimes violent for the purpose of relieving their frustrations or validating their sense of unwarranted moral superiority. The behaviors of Social justice warriors usually have a negative impact on the civil rights movement, turning away potential allies and fueling the resurgence of bigoted groups that scoop up people who have been burned or turned off by social justice warriors.
    If social justice warriors would just f_ck off, we could actually make some progress." : ) a sword has two sides and not always is an SJW representing sensible logic, they often end up representing self frustration and hatred towards others in a lost sense of belief over ones self morality over others including justification of themselves over everyone else while they are speaking from only a minuscule amount of experience else if next to none, no one wants deny rights to any human being least most of anyone wouldn't but it doesn't mean that "feminism" should be a thing cause instead of supporting one sided nonsense like this , what should be really supported and pushed up is "human rights" this is one unified term that helps everyone achieve equality. I'm quite sure how the "__ lives matter" movement was a bad stirrup which helped trigger more issues than cure if any and by all logic it simply implies that one group of peoples lives matter but it also creates the negativity of how others feel out of the loop and start to question "does this mean we don't matter" cause those things clearly are selfish statements and never are selfless ones. Feminism represents that objective focus on elements that say "unfair this unfair that" which leads to simply creating hatred towards the opposite gender and simply vilifying them for things they haven't even thought of or acted on. P.s People who think SJW purely represents all good and rainbows with cupids and ****! . . are clearly worse than a retard.
  • I hear your frustrations and understand your position on the terminology "Black Lives Matter."
    But please consider the context from which that term, rallying cry and ultimately label for a group originated. It was birthed from within a culture, America, with a long and sordid history of overt hatred, racism, slavery and injustice toward African Americans. A history where African Americans and the American culture were told blacks were less than human, quite literally quantified as a fraction of white counterparts.
    A history of hangings for little more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or daring to look a white equal, who thought himself superior in the eye. A history of literal castrations, rapes by those who deemed blacks little more than property to be used to fulfil their own lusts or upon whom they could relieve their own anger and insecurities.
    A history where "freedom" from slavery was a long journey, not an immediate shift with the stroke if a president’s pen. Abuses and inequalities continued through legal segregation. Blacks were human and equal to white counterparts, but it didn't matter when it came to an appropriate education, it didn't matter when it came to provision of books for their communities, it didn't matter when it came to equal health, job opportunities, seats on a bus, fountain to drink from, entrance to use - it didn't matter. The culture said they were less than human, a fraction of their white counterparts and that notion was reflected daily in their reality.
    Less than 60 years ago, while my mother and father, mere generation ago, were young the overt legalized manifestation of that notion of black inferiority was forbidden- that notion that blacks didn't matter. Signs forbidden African Americans into certain establishments, certain entrances, fountains etc. came down, but in less than 60 years, (if it takes Microsoft a 40-year-old company with 124K employees years to change to a One Microsoft from a divided company culture) it's naïve to think a country with 300 million people and centuries of entrenched racism to change unless than 60 years.
    Black lives matters was birthed from a persistence of the notion within our culture that African Americans have less value than their white counterparts as manifest in the repeated killing of African Americans by law enforcers, that has been reported from black communities for decades, but more recently seen by the broader culture via dash and body cameras.
    It was birthed from the repeated echo of law enforcers being exonerated, as in years past during slavery and later pre-civil rights America, where African Americans were killed, and their murderers not convicted - black lives didn't matter then. The echo of that reality is reverberating today, in 21st century America.
    So "Black Lives Matter" isn't an exclusion of all other lives, it is a cry from within a culture for whom their reality within the larger culture is a centuries long experience where their lives simply, and irrefutably as denoted in history books and modern news, don't matter as much as their white counterparts.
    It is a cry where "ALL" lives is implicit in in the focus on black lives that are being snuffed out as they cry I can't breathe as cops choke them with illegal holds, shot while holding phones, wallets or nothing at all (while on the ground caring for a person with autism). It's a reality that the notion of lesser value of black lives is manifest in how law enforcement engages African Americans and how our justice system treats blacks who are innocent or who commit the same crimes as whites differently. Black lives matter us not an exclusion of ANYONE, it is a cry to be recognized as equal to everyone.
  • "I have made it my business to report on the admirable efforts Microsoft has made to embrace overlooked populations such as African Americans and people with disabilities." 1st off, Thank You. In the purely FWIW category, disabled by illness for a couple of decades, am all too aware of discrimination, the thoughts & emotions it inspires, and the too often feelings that it's hopeless to even think about there ever being any sort of solution. At its most basic level, discrimination occurs whenever you're treated differently than everyone else. The emotions it directly causes can have all sorts of effects, including increased sensitivity towards other discriminatory acts or actions. Often enough a pattern of relatively minor occurrences, that most wouldn't notice if they weren't the target of such acts, can escalate. That can [often does] cause some people that are less sensitive to such issues, to think something like: "Where did that come from?" And sadly, rather than look, or ask for a reason or reasons, they [too] often imagine [make up] reasons of their own. My own perception is that Microsoft at some levels really is concerned about any & all kinds of discrimination, but like any company, particularly a large company like Microsoft, leadership can neither know nor change the way others think, can't know or change how employees [including execs] perceive others, and can't control biases. So when an actionable charge is made, does a leader at Microsoft listen to the person making the charges, who may indeed be exaggerating, or even lying, or do they listen to a perfectly reasonable-sounding person denying that charge, a person who may not even admit to themselves that they're somewhere between biased & bigoted? If nothing else, if charges were made against more than one person, most leaders would rather think positive things about their team -- would rather believe there's one bad apple so-to-speak making unfounded charges than think a good portion of the barrel is rotten. In my opinion the only way to any sort of long-term cure is for folks like you, Jason, to continue shining light on a difficult subject. Again, Thanks.
  • It's a shammy, much as I sometimes give MS jibes they really are one off better companies when it comes to accessibility and inclusivity. But they're bound to have some horrific people working for them simply because of how large they are.
  • That was my experience. I had some of my best career experiences there and some of my worst. A giant company is bound to have people of all types. I do believe Microsoft tries very hard for equity between their employees, customers and communities. But this is not a problem that is ever 'solved', its a continuing cycle of evaluation, discovery and response where new inequities are found or old ones appear again. I'm glad they are taking it up, and I hope the new case is used to learn and adjust going forward.
  • I'm not going to insert myself into Microsoft's situation, but it's shocking that Microsoft has done so much to try and avoid conflict in this, including implementing unfair hiring practices (affirmative action), and endorsing policies that fix wages, and supporting SJWs. But they STILL end up in this situation. I'm not denying there were issues. I wasn't there. But this only proves that these unfair practices that SJWs want are NOT working, and only making things harder.
  • How does it prove that at all? Things are undeniably better for women and minorities now than they were in 1999 when I started at the company (and racist/sexist/homophobic jokes and behavior were certainly the norm). That there is more work to be done in no way negates the good work that has been done or how much better it has made the corporate culture in the meantime. Do people quit any job at the midway point and declare it pointless because there is more to be done?
  • Its called putting hay into the fire; promoting the ego's of peoples minds due to all these categories; these simply promote the thought of oneself being different than others more than indifferent cause every label says ' "certain race/ethnic" or "certain gender/age" lives matter cause', this in a roundabout way puts something more bad than good into their minds, it is the mindset or belief of "hatred" towards others who aren't their gender/race/ethnic and that is what this promotes because all these different kinds of rights puts label for each kind of person and gender then places them apart as a different subset of human species who must be provided "rights" yet the proper label for all these in a unified term should have always been and should always be; is Human Rights, this is the universal term for everyone and this is where truly this discriminating word use can be put to an end. Because humans will always find a way to twist the meanings of words but if one were to use words that were more difficult to be twisted, it would help more than doing harm unlike "feminism" or "___ lives matter" movements, where as "human rights" should be the only thing that represents all humans and genders all alike, which doesn't label itself right from the start as something focused on one gender or race/ethnic and that's how true equality is made, not by the other nonsense people try to make the world comply to.
  • As a former MSFT employee who was repeatedly told by managers that I was passed over for promotions and positions specifically because I was a white male, I can say that I never saw the #MeToo problem when it came to discriminating against women. From my decade there, I saw the opposite: multiple people were given preferential treatment only because of "affirmative action," not based on qualifications. Additionally, I was told by a (female) former manager that if I was a female or a minority, I would have easily been a GM or possibly a VP. Saying that, Microsoft is a huge company and I wouldn't be surprised if there were some people that discriminated against women or harassed them. However, from my personal experience, I saw that HR went out of its way to give preferential treatment to women and minorities while discriminating against the "white guy." (HR even ordered me to hire someone who I couldn't legally hire.) Of course, as I've said before, if Microsoft wants to prefer one group over another based on gender or pigmentation, that's their choice, but they should just state it in the open and not say that they don't.
  • Geez, sounds like MS is run by left wing nutbars. Affirmative Action is the dreams of lunatics come true as 'payback'
  • What I find interesting is the number of articles and official positions that Microsoft has published asserting that their "affirmative action" practices are a great thing, even though it purposefully discriminates against people that aren't listed in their faux "diversity" list. Basically what they're saying is that giving preferential treatment to Group A is protected under "affirmative action" and is "diversity," but giving NOT giving preferential treatment to Group A is "discrimination" and bad. I just think that they should edit their Employee Handbook and hiring site to say that if you're not part of their designated Group A, then don't bother coming to Microsoft. I think that every company has the right to hire/promote/fire anyone they want to for any reason (or no reason at all,) but I just want them to be open and honest about it.
  • Yeah, bullshit story or misogynist who made up their own reality to explain why they weren't promotion material.
  • +
  • Dear Upset SJW jackwads: Frigg off and grow a spine you oxygen thieves.
  • Yeah... It's only women... Not like they're real people or anything... Grab 'em by the p*ssy, right?
  • As stated "SJW Jackwads" Nowhere was it stated "women" …
  • My mistake, I thought you were commenting on the actual article rather than just explosively shouting about a group of people you happen to disagree with. Apparently, this is Twitter. Did Adam Baldwin send you lol?
  • Rush Limbaugh has a term called Feminazi. Seems to be more and more relevant every day. Now, I know most of this site is run by left wing bubble people, but seriously.... take a look around, and see who is stifling whose speech and liberties. It certainly isn't myself or my ilk, who happen to not want to be bothered with any of this nonsense and quite honestly are sick of reading about how everyone is a victim --except white males of course, they are evil.
  • So sexual assault is a bipartisan issue? I take it you don't have a mother, sister, daughter or any female friends? Or is it just that you believe you should hold the rights to your bodies, not them?
  • You got me!!! I have NO MOTHER!! I came from space I guess? What does that have to do with being sick of everyone being a victim and whining about it? Self-reliance. Resolve. Stop ********. Whatever you wanna take from that.
  • Yes, I honestly think you have no mother. I also honestly believe you have no concept of hyperbole... I'm also sick of there being so many victims in the world... I'd just rather place the blame on their victimizers rather than them. I know it's terribly boring to hear about all these victims whining about the terrible things that have happened to them... Though I suspect you'd feel differently if I stole your car.
  • How do you know I am not some broad with a great sense of humor? HOW DARE YOU ASSUME THIS!!!
  • Some broad what? I know you don't have a great sense of humour because I've read your comments.
  • I am a really funny broad. That means chick to people who know English, chat person. I create comedy with the best broad comedians of all time!
  • Actually no, we don't use that term in England. You might be looking for the word bird, bird is the word. Go on then, if you're a comedian be funny... So far you're no Sarah Silverman or Tina Fey... You're not even Amy Schumer. You might make a passable Rosie O'Donnell... She is, after all, quite broad.
  • I am thankfully not as 'funny' as any of those 'women'
  • Yeah, I always shed a tear for right wing snowflakes like Rush who push tough male personas then start crying when women do the same. It must be so difficult for him to get by with all this persecution by feminists!
  • Can't u cool kid?
  • Seriously, are you having a stroke? I'm becoming genuinely worried... Maybe you're just stoned.
  • What are you talking aboot?
  • 35 complaints per year in a corporation that employs hundreds of thousands of people is a "culture of sexual harassment"? Good grief, is it really that slow a news day?
  • These days "Sexual harassment" means this:
    <Female> I need a raise... I only make 92% of what my boss makes... wait a sec! My boss is a man! THAT'S IT!!! AND HE LOOKED AT ME THE OTHER DAY!!!! As head of the IT department, I need to report on this tiny TV screen twitter box and get my money!
  • Geekahedron, "is it really that slow of a news day." Just a point of perspective. My articles are planned a week or more ahead of when thier actually published. Hence, your attempts at sarcasm are lost.
  • Jason, that is actually really helpful to know. But what happens when something is considered "breaking" ?
  • We have news writers at Mobile Nations who write ✍🏿 news daily. We also have people who focus on reviews, how-tos, etc. My focus as a columnist is editorials. Most of the time editorials can be timely, relevant to current events, without needing to be as "pressing" as breaking news. There are times, however, when something "breaks" that deserves particular attention via editorial analysis like pieces we wrote about Windows on ARM when that was announced at the end of 2016, or the piece Dan recently wrote in the reorg, etc. Of course more can be written on either of these topics via editorials but, in a "breaking" sense, yes, those are two examples where providing analysis and context was important to supply immediately rather than scheduling a week or so out.
  • I used to work for MS and was accused of sexual harassment and was suspended for 2 weeks without pay during the investigation and interviews. When it was brought up that there are cameras and they also record audio I told them "Good. Go look at the video. You wont see or hear a damn thing." Sure enough it was found out that I did not do what was alleged and the allegations were flat out lies. What happened? Nothing. I went back to work with the same people. I had to act professional to them as I always had been even though they tried to screw me and not a damn thing happened to them for their lies. So who got discriminated against here? #MeToo. #TruthHurts #WomenArent100%Innocent
  • Isn't it nice? The guilty until proven innocent stuff? I love folk music!!
  • It's true that an allegation is not proof of wrongdoing and I'm sorry for your experience. If that's how things occured i think you're owed at minimum an apology and realistically some form of retribution. I was careful in this piece to clearly acknowledge that these are allegations that have not yet been proven because I am aware that there are two sides to a story ad not every allegation is true. Still in light of the weight of the number of allegations brought forward I challenged Microsoft that IF true to make it right. Again I'm sorry for your experience. God holds the record. Hopefully, you were able to move on despite the lack of an apology or compensation.
  • Quick glance at the current and former MS employee lists that I have access to and if his name on here is accurate he has never worked for Microsoft. I'd wager most of the stories of such are by people who never worked there. I also call bullshit on two aspects: the idea that there are cameras and audio (where did he work, on a secured loading dock..?), and that he was 'suspended without pay for two weeks' which would be an employment violation and is not per any policy I was ever aware of (or that current friends who still work there are aware of). In fact it might be illegal if such a policy exists. He also says 'they' when in reality women do not operate as an organized unit any more than men or any other group do. If a complaint was made it would have to be specific, and being that I know a couple people who actually have had such claims made against them, the actual process is nothing as described here.
  • When are we going to start hearing about the numbers or percentages of false allegations and how they destroy otherwise innocent people? When are we going to care about those victims? Or are we ignoring them because they are mostly white males and don't fit the agenda?
  • I believe we have a winner.
  • It's already been found that 99% of those female accusers were lying. Accusations are just that, someone accusing... Those 99% who accuse on no basis should be fired immediately and sued. Equity is good, but equality is communism...huge difference. Microsoft are experts at testing, look at their certification framework. Ensure every hire and promotion is backed by testing, can't dispute the results then and expect to be favoured because you're a female or a minority. Also get rid of the H1Bs, they also play a part in discrimination against the white American man. Anyway if MS is truly hiring and promoting people because they are female or black or queer or basically anything other than straight white male, over skills and value to the company then it is no wonder the shocking decline of stability of their products in recent years.
  • Wtf I agree for the most part but H1Bs certainly not... H1Bs cost more for equal skills and position than an resident... And what product instability of recent years... Microsoft is a striving company..
  • Hey, I guess if someone named covfefe asserts it it must be true. I mean, what do all those researchers who have found the opposite know, amirite?
  • To be fair without diminishing the gravity of such acts if proven to be accurate... Those numbers over so many years in a company as big as MS are relatively low... I would say they are probably unavoidable... We are talking about human beings with free will... You'll always have bad apples... What can be done is maybe measures to identify early those individuals or to better sanction bad behavior when it happens... But you won't be able to purge such a big company of all people with potentially bad behavior toward women or otherwise...
  • Absolutely there will always be bad apples and it's utterly disgraceful that only one of the accusations was founded to have merit. That means Microsoft actually entertained the false notion that there were/are 100+ "male predators" in the company when in fact it shows the females, except one, were the predators. This really is a major warning sign for women everywhere, if you hear your female colleagues shouting off about being victims in the company, then by all means alert management otherwise this will have very negative repercussions against actual honest women in the future applying for jobs.
  • Ridiculous conclusion. Not finding proof is not the same as something not happening. Often any individual claim is impossible to prove, but when many have been made a pattern of behaviour can be established. Even worse that you then claim the women were predators.
  • Yes there seems to be a very disturbing pattern of women falsely accusing men and this has to stop. I'd start with firing them and financially assisting the victims to bring civil suits against the predators, and end with warning all their future employers how dangerous they are before they engage in the same behaviour elsewhere.
  • Citations needed. There is no evidence of any pattern of women falsely accusing men. Certainly some have, but there is zero evidence it is the majority or even a significant minority.
  • You know what, i agree with covfefe, i know my sister very well and she's not a ***** like some of the other women I've associated in my work places however not all but there are quite a few who do act in such manners that shame and put the decent women in a place where everything they are is questioned due to it. you can try to justify bs but this is human nature as well i will say that this goes the other way as well however in this case when there are movements like feminism and "female rights matter" nonsense , some people manage to get on the high horse and abuse the freedom they are given by acting in such manners then get away with it cause they have a huge and active community that will represent their so called rights "over the males" , so that isn't exactly leading to equality, it leads to hatred and inequality.
  • It sounds like you have some real issues with women. I would suggest counselling.
  • Suddenly everyone in the comments works or worked at Microsoft.. Stop lying :D
  • It's a good idea to keep things in perspective. The number of complaints against Microsoft here on the grounds of gender discrimination are actually pretty low compared to other big companies. I simply don't see where there is any justification for a sensationalist article like this.
  • Have you not noticed Jason's agenda? He even turns a news piece about false accusations from women to men because they possess a victim mentality, to "African Americans"... Within the first sentence... There are people who want to strive for good within their family, job, society, country... Then there are those who want to focus on victimhood.
  • You do realize that my reference to marginalized groups in the beginning of this this piece was to set a broader context that this piece is not a "one off" piece, nor an isolated problem or to "sensationalize" (as you say Justin) a relevant topic. But it exists within a broader context of discrimination. As I open with I, as a tech writer, made it my business to report on Microsoft's efforts to address groups that are marginalized like in tech like African Americans and people with disabilities. I then deliberately list the areas where they have done this work and link🔗 to the articles where I cover that work. The statement in the first sentence sets the tone, if there is an agenda, to talk about things in tech that have a social and cultural impact as well. I am very intune to and passionate as my colleagues about tech its evolution and impact, as my varied work shows. But I also embrace, uniquely, the less covered topics of inclusion and other social issues impacted by technology companies and Microsoft. So my "agenda" is a more comprehensive coverage of the impact of these companies beyond how much RAM is in the latest Surface Book of how immersive the display is in the Studio, or what type of teck Project Andromeda may introduce. Those things are definitely relevant for what we do here. But Microsoft and other tech companies have a greatee and broader impact than just the tech they introduce and my "agenda" is to talk about that impact.
  • And thank you for this coverage. Writers like you are part of why the situation is changing, and I appreciate it.
  • Yeah the situation is changing from "HUMAN RIGHTS" to " i hate everyone who isn't my gender/race/ethnic" weeeee .. hurrah for hatism , enjoy your war.
  • Human rights and women's rights are not mutually exclusive concepts. In fact they are complementary.
  • Interesting...I would have said women's rights are a subset of human rights, since women are a subset of humanity. I think WandowsTan is getting at the idea that human rights is a term we all fall under, so it is all inclusive, but women's rights automatically segregates and begins to create an us vs them mentality.
  • A false rape accusation can destroy your life.
    Protect yourselves men!
  • Yeah don't hire women! I kid but... seriously this is the danger that the minority of women, that is the troublemakers, are creating for future employment of all women.
  • I've found the best protection is to not rape women. It's worked really well for 41 years so far!
  • yeah right, you and what army of facts are going to save you from accusation ? then comes the social and public shaming even before proof cause we have ACTIVISTS~ to sing the songs of insults , enjoy the hell hole you have made, sheep. It only takes one vengeful spirit and a few friends to create a lie , it might not be perfect but in the eyes of people who represent those groups it would be a flame that never dies until it ends in misery "guilty until proven innocent" is the word yet in this belief it turns into "guilty u̶n̶t̶i̶l̶ forever" .
  • You know what's great? Not being accused because the data has demonstrated that women rarely falsely accuse men, and by treating women respectfully as equals and peers there is little reason anyone would falsely accuse me of anything (this works with men too, astounding I know!). Yes it only takes on person to mess things up, but that's true for many aspects of a person's life. A colleague could falsely accuse you of embezzling, or a friend of stealing, and yet we don't spend our lives obsessing about these possible threats. Somehow its only a concern when it's a woman accusing a man.
  • It is difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. There are so many nonsense complaints that it is becoming difficult to sort through and determine which complaints are serious and have merit. Given that the "system" has become clogged with nonsense complaints, my recommendation would be for Women who have serious complaints to simply quit and go somewhere else. We can't change the past but you are in 100% control of the future. Suck it up. Your not dead. Move on.
  • Or the men could just quit and go somewhere else, I mean that argument goes both ways. Tired of women complaining about your behavior? Either change your behaviour or go somewhere where it is appreciated (I hear the culture in Russia is great for abusive men).
  • MeToo mania makes me roll my eyes. Are women even worth hiring, anymore? Seems like they’re becoming risk baggage and ticking time mobs that bandwagon random social movements in an attempt to change everything “because you’ll believe them.”
  • Yes, women are the ticking time bombs, rather than the men who seemingly abuse them at will. It's like all those people who unintentionally wander over land mines. They should know better than to step on a land mine, right?
  • Smells like the typical BS that arises from "allegations" like this.
  • The initial comments were promising, but whew... they went downhill. Those of you who laid bare your misogyny, what can I say? Call me a feminazi, you'll just make me laugh and inspire me. Equality is no joke. Stopping discrimination is no joke. If I were to list the things I've seen - including direct evidence - I'm pretty sure that in mixed company, I could make you all blush with a recounting of them. Confidentiality stops me from it, but... if you are sceptical, you come to that scepticism from a place of decided entitlement.
  • Not really directed at you, but that is the problem, all the confidentiality preventing people from seeing how widespread this really is. People are shocked and disbelieving about #metoo but the truth is that is the tip of the iceberg. In just the past year the things I've seen happen and get covered up have been mind boggling, and most of it has occurred in a crowd that are liberal Democrats. I can't imagine how bad it is where such issues are not even considered.
  • All things aside do you think that males aren't abused by females and put into uncomfortable situations ? , as to me the difference between male and female is just a few chromosomes. and i clearly don't support feminism or feminazi whatever whoever wants to call it, i only support human rights; because that is for everyone aside of gender and race/ethnic it is what represents everyone together; rather than using a label to differentiate between people that creates more division; i support women;men;kids;animals as well but i don't support people who abuse what they are given and simply say that only one part of a certain people/gender/race is responsible for a certain issue because it's always a two way road.
  • Wow. This comments section is exactly why we need to keep having these discussions.
    I hope many of you never wind up in positions with power over subordinates. Thanks Jason.
  • So, this article intrigued me enough to look up some numbers and crunch a few as well. From 2010 to 2016 (the time of the complaints), Microsoft's employee numbers ranged from 89,000 to 114,000. Another article dated 2014-2015 stated that Microsoft had around 24% women. Using 90,000 as a total to make the numbers easier to read, that gives us 21600 women. According to this article, I counted around 242 complaints from women. Assuming that all complaints are legit and represent a separate woman(to really crank the stats), that calculates to about 1.1% of the women at Microsoft complained about something gender-related. My guess is that if we knew the numbers for each year, the % would be even lower. I don't know how that compares to other organizations, but 99% not discriminated against seems pretty impressive to me. Now I suppose there could be the argument that the number of complaints are low, because many women chose not to report things; which may be true, but I'm just working with what we have. I'm all for gender equity, but I don't expect us to hit it 100% all the time.