The tech industry in the U.S. has been marred by increase in discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits over the past decade. Though tech firms deny that they do not encourage such behavior in their firms, the numbers tell otherwise. The blog post by Susan Fowler, former employee at Uber revealed the true face of work culture in the company that denies promotions and advancement in career to female employees. This post highlighted work environment in only one tech company in the Silicon Valley. However, there are many tech companies in the U.S. and the number of cases of discrimination and harassment are much more. Though there are movements in the world that encourages gender equality and feminism, very few companies have an environment which supports and practices them. According to the recent court filling made public on Monday, female employees working at Microsoft Corp. based in the U.S. registered 238 internal complaints regarding gender discrimination and sexual harassment during the period, 2010–2016.
This figure was outlined by plaintiffs who were denied pay raises and promotions in the world’s largest software company. But Microsoft refused that it has any such policy that encourages such behavior. The lawsuit that was filed in 2015 gained a lot of prominence across the world following a resignation or firing of powerful men from entertainment, media, and politics over allegation of sexual harassment.
Attorneys of plaintiffs have been making moves to make Microsoft lawsuits a class action. This would cover nearly 8,000 women. Along with the number of complaints filed, human resource practices were released publicly in a legal filling submitted on Monday. According to details in unreleased court fillings, out of 118 gender discrimination complaints filed by female employees at Microsoft, only one was regarded “founded” by the company. Some of the attorneys called number of complaints “shocking” and the response by Microsoft “lackluster”. Moreover, many complaints have been kept private by companies. So, it is unclear how many actual complaints have been filed and how it compares with competitors of Microsoft.
The Redmond-based tech giant Microsoft outlined in a court filling that plaintiffs do not have a right idea about the number of affected employees needed to file a class action lawsuit. Moreover, the firm spends nearly $55 million every year for promotion of diversity and inclusion. The company added that the plaintiffs did not give an example of promotion or pay problem in which investigation team of Microsoft found violation of company policy.
A review from Reuters about federal court cases filed from 2006 to 2016 highlighted hundreds of cases containing sexual harassment allegations. In these allegations, companies implemented common civil litigation tactics to keep information about sexual misconduct allegations private. Microsoft outlined that the number of human resources complaints from female employees need to be kept private, because disclosing the outcomes would restrain employees from reporting abuses in the future. The culture of discrimination and harassment is harmful for the organization. However, this behavior still pervades for personal gains. Strict measures need to be taken to stop such incidents from happening in the future.