Microsoft hit with 118 gender-bias complaints in 7 years

The lawsuit filed in Seattle federal court in 2015 is attracting wider attention after a series of powerful men have left or been fired from their jobs in entertainment the media and politics for sexual misconduct

According to court filings, between 2010 and 2016, 238 women working in technical-based jobs for Microsoft in the US filed internal complaints.

A Microsoft logo is seen a day after Microsoft Corp's $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn Corp in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on June 14, 2016. Joining companies like Tinder, Uber, and Google, a lawsuit filed against Microsoft has brought to light the gender discrimination and sexual harassment complaints filed by over 200 female employees.

Paintiffs are reportedly pushing for a class action lawsuit to cover 8,000 women working at Microsoft, who claim the company systematically denied pay raises and promotions to females. Microsoft denies it had any such policy.

The court documents are part of a gender discrimination lawsuit against Microsoft filed in 2015 by Katherine Moussouris, a computer security researcher who worked at the company from 2007-2014.

Lawyers for Microsoft and the plaintiffs have been throwing legal barbs at each other in the case for more than two years, in the form of studies into the company's review and investigative practices and in testimony from experts in the fields of human resources, gender studies and workplaces.

What has emerged is that out of 118 gender discrimination complaints filed by women at Microsoft, only one was deemed "founded" by the company.

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Attorneys for the women called the number of complaints "shocking" in the court filings and the response by Microsoft's investigations team "lackluster". Microsoft also wanted to the keep the number of human resources complaints under wraps.

The firm's attorneys also argued that the plaintiffs could not find practices that affected enough employees for a class action suit, and pointed out that it had spent $55 million annually to provide inclusionary causes. It has about 75,000 employees in the USA, and 115,000 across the globe.

US District Judge James Robart has not yet ruled on the plaintiffs' request for class action status. In some cases, the plaintiffs say, investigators found that some of the alleged harassment did in fact occur, but "did not rise to the level of a policy violation".

Microsoft is the latest tech giant to be at the centre of discrimination complaints from its staff, after it emerged that the software giant has been hit with hundreds of complaints.

Microsoft had argued the numbers shouldn't be released as they might deter it from reporting future abuses, but Reuters reported that a court-appointed official said this was "far too remote a competitive or business harm".

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