Microsoft opens a assessment of its sexual harassment insurance policies.


Microsoft has chosen a regulation agency to assessment its sexual harassment and gender discrimination insurance policies, the corporate’s board introduced on Thursday, after shareholders raised alarms about how Microsoft and Invoice Gates, one in all its founders, had handled workers, particularly ladies.

The board mentioned it had chosen Arent Fox, primarily based in Washington, D.C. Microsoft mentioned the agency had by no means executed employment-related work for it previously.

Shareholders handed a decision through the firm’s 2021 annual assembly to assessment the insurance policies Microsoft has in place for its workers to guard them in opposition to abuse and undesirable sexual advances.

The decision handed with assist from nearly 78 % of Microsoft’s shareholders. It was the one of 5 proposals on moral points put forth by shareholders to succeed. Others, like a name for a report on race- and gender-based pay gaps on the firm and a pledge to ban gross sales of facial recognition to authorities entities, failed.

“Microsoft is beneath intense public scrutiny as a consequence of quite a few claims of sexual harassment and an alleged failure to handle them adequately and transparently,” the textual content of the decision mentioned. “Studies of Invoice Gates’s inappropriate relationships and sexual advances towards Microsoft workers have solely exacerbated considerations, placing in query the tradition set by high management and the board’s function holding these culpable accountable.”

Mr. Gates solicited not less than two workers whereas he was working Microsoft, in response to reviews in The New York Instances and The Wall Road Journal. In a single incident, in 2007, Mr. Gates sat by a presentation by a Microsoft worker, then instantly emailed her to ask for a date. Microsoft leaders later warned Mr. Gates to not do issues like that. In 2019, Microsoft’s board obtained a letter from an engineer claiming to have had a sexual relationship with Mr. Gates in 2000. A spokeswoman for Mr. Gates confirmed that the 2 had had an affair that “ended amicably.”

Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief govt, mentioned in an announcement on Thursday that office tradition was Microsoft’s “No. 1 precedence.”

“We’re dedicated not simply to reviewing the report however studying from the evaluation so we will proceed to enhance the experiences of our workers,” he mentioned.

Karen Weise contributed reporting.

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