Microsoft has been vocal about its support for women in tech recently, and that’s partly to counter negative press. In 2015, a lawsuit was filed in a Seattle federal court that accused the company of strategically denying promotions to women.
Though Microsoft outright denies those claims, it’s also been employing some shady tactics to make the problem go away. Newly released court documents reveal the full scope of the problem, and it’s staggering.
According to Reuters, women filed 238 discrimination and harassment complaints against the company between 2010 and 2016. According to the court filings, out of 118 gender discrimination complaints, the company only found one to be ‘founded’.
Despite the statistic, Microsoft claims it thoroughly investigates such cases.
“In recent weeks there has been some attention in the media on how Microsoft investigates complaints of gender discrimination or sexual harassment in the workplace, alleging that we don’t take these issues seriously and don’t investigate complaints thoroughly,” said CPO Kathleen Hogan in a staff email. “Some of what has been reported contains inaccurate and misleading data.”
Hogan offers counter statistics from the most recent fiscal year, claiming that 50% of harassment complaints were marked as founded and 10% of gender discrimination suits. She also conceded that the process can feel formal and unempathetic.
However, With accusations fired at several key entertainment figures for sexual harassment, Microsoft is in the spotlight, and the plaintiff’s lawyers have suggested a class action lawsuit that could cover 8,000 women.
Though the company has removed the secrecy around its complaints going forward, its past isn’t going to go away, nor is this case any time soon.