Microsoft opens third-party review of harassment and discrimination policies

Microsoft hired a third-party law firm to review its sexual harassment policies and gender discrimination policies, The edge reported. As part of this, the final report will summarize the results of the sexual harassment investigations against the company’s senior management and board, including former CEO Bill Gates.

The report “will lead to the public release of a transparency report assessing the effectiveness of the company’s policies, training and related policies on sexual harassment and gender discrimination,” Microsoft said in a statement. Press release. It will also “assess the measures that have been taken to hold employees, including managers, accountable for sexual harassment or gender discrimination”, and will include the number of cases of sexual harassment that have been the subject of an investigation and their resolution.

[The report] lead to the public publication of a transparency report assessing the effectiveness of the company’s policies, training and related policies on sexual harassment and gender discrimination. This will include a review of the concerns raised by employees in 2019 in the “Need Help” thread, steps the company is taking to address those concerns, and additional steps that may further strengthen those safeguards. The review will also include an analysis of policies, practices and commitments aimed at creating a safe and inclusive work environment.

Microsoft had planned to disclose how it implements sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies, a key request being disclosure of management-level investigations. However, late last year, Microsoft shareholders forced the company to write an annual report detailing how it deals with cases of sexual harassment within the company.

The review will be conducted by law firm Arent Fox and will focus on allegations of discrimination and harassment arising from a Microsoft Mail Channel in 2019. In more than 90 pages of emails, employees claimed to have been harassed and denied promotions and salary increases, among other issues. They also complained that managers and the company’s human resources department had taken no action in many cases. Microsoft was also charged with 238 cases of gender discrimination or sexual harassment in 2018.

While the board will assess the previous investigation against Gates, it will not revisit the case that arose in 2000. Gates resigned from Microsoft’s board in early March 2020, would have before the end of the investigation.

“We are committed not only to reviewing the report, but also to learning from the evaluation so that we can continue to improve the experience for our employees,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. “I see this comprehensive review as an opportunity to keep getting better.”

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