On 13th January 2022, the Microsoft Board of Directors said that it would review the company’s policies on sexual harassment and gender discrimination. The Board will also review the company’s sexual harassment and gender discrimination practices. The review comes after a shareholder resolution that passed last year and will be built on the steps Microsoft has taken over the past few years to address sexual harassment and gender discrimination issues and strengthen the company’s culture. The Board said it would hire an outside law firm to handle the review, and at the end of the review, it will publish a thorough transparency report. The report is expected to be published in the Spring of 2022.
The company’s review will address several crucial things in the shareholder resolutions. Below are the elements that the review will address;
- Assessment of the effectiveness of Microsoft’s workplace gender discrimination and sexual harassment policy, including a review of concerns that employees raised in 2019, steps Microsoft has taken to respond to these concerns, and additional steps the company could take to strengthen these safeguards. In 2019, employees at Microsoft raised several allegations of sexual harassment at the company in an email thread.
- Analysis of practices, policies, and commitments to create a safe and inclusive work environment.
- A summary of sexual harassment investigations, including the allegations that a Board committee investigated involving Bill Gates. This particular investigation came after reports that Bill Gates had pursued a sexual relationship with an employee in 2000. The Board investigated the matter, but in 2021, it said that the process was not concluded because Gates stepped down as a director.
- Assessment of the steps that have been taken to hold employees accountable for sexual harassment or gender discrimination.
- Data on the exact number of sexual harassment cases that have been investigated and their resolution.
Additionally, the review will assess Microsoft’s current practices and benchmark these practices against “best practices” that other companies have adopted. The main reason for doing this will be to identify additional opportunities for improvement of their gender and harassment policies.
After the review is concluded, the outside law firm will give the Board and management a report detailing its findings and recommendations. Once that is done, Microsoft’s management team will develop an implementation plan to act on the law firm’s recommendations. After that, the management team will report to the Board on the plan, and then the Board will publish the public report. The public report will contain details of the review and findings and the management’s plan for improvements to current policies and practices.
According to Microsoft’s Chairman and CEO, Satya Nadella, the company embraces this review. To Satya, this review is an opportunity for Microsoft to continue improving.
Contact the Trabosh Law Firm
Unfortunately, while workplaces have made significant advances, sexual harassment in the workplace continues to be a big problem in New Jersey and all across the U.S. Fortunately, there are laws in place that protect workers from sexual harassment.
If you have any questions or have been a victim of sexual harassment at the workplace, do not hesitate to contact the Trabosh Law Firm.