Microsoft opens a third-party review of its harassment and discrimination policies

Microsoft has hired a third-party law firm to review its policies on sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies, the edge It has been reported. As part of that, the final report will summarize the findings of sexual harassment investigations against the company’s top leadership and board of directors, including former CEO Bill Gates.

Microsoft said in a press release that the report “will lead to the publication of a public transparency report to assess the effectiveness of the company’s workplace sexual harassment and gender discrimination, training, and related policies.” It will also “evaluate the steps that have been taken to hold employees, including executives, accountable for sexual harassment or gender discrimination,” and include the number of sexual harassment cases investigated and resolved.

[The report] It will produce a transparency report that evaluates the effectiveness of the company’s policies on sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the workplace, training, and related policies. This will include a review of concerns raised by employees in 2019 in the Need Help email thread, the steps the company has taken to respond to those concerns, and additional steps that could strengthen these safeguards further. The review will also include an analysis of policies, practices and commitments to create a safe and inclusive work environment.

Microsoft had been planning to reveal how it implemented sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies, with a major request being disclosure of investigations at the executive level. However, late last year, Microsoft shareholders forced the company to write an annual report detailing how it handled sexual harassment issues within the company.

The review will be conducted by the law firm Arent Fox and will look into allegations of discrimination and harassment arising from an internal Microsoft email chain in 2019. In more than 90 pages of emails, female employees have claimed they have been harassed and denied promotions and payment. raises, among other things. They also complained that, in many cases, managers and the company’s human resources department did not take action. Microsoft was also accused of committing 238 cases of gender discrimination or sexual harassment in 2018.

While the Board of Directors will evaluate the previous investigation against Gates, it will not re-investigate the case that occurred in 2000. Gates resigned from the Microsoft Board of Directors in early March 2020, before the investigation was reportedly completed.

“We are committed to not only reviewing the report but learning from the assessment so we can continue to improve our employees’ experiences. I embrace this comprehensive review as an opportunity to continue to get better,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO in a statement.

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