Microsoft is reportedly investigating a number of sexual harassment claims internally after multiple women shared their stories on a 90-page long email chain. Quartz is reporting that Microsoft’s Senior Leadership Team is looking into the reports, with an all-hands meeting expected to happen today.
Quartz also gained accessed to the 90 pages of email, where multiple Microsoft employees shared their stories of sexual harassment, as well as discrimination; most of the cases were initially overlooked by Microsoft’s human resources team.
The stories are quite horrifying. One female Microsoft employee claimed that an employee of a partner company threatened to kill her if she did not perform “implied sexual” acts. Microsoft’s HR team didn’t take any action due to lack of evidence, and the fact that the man worked for a partner company. “I raised immediate attention to HR and management. My male manager told me that ‘it sounded like he was just flirting’ and I should ‘get over it’”, the employee wrote.
Another employee had been called a “b*tch” more than once at work. “We did a roundtables with the women when I was in Xbox core [team] & every woman, except for 1, had been called a bitch at work. Before people say this is just an Xbox thing (as I’ve heard that dismissiveness way too many times within Microsoft before) the other eng [engineering] orgs where my experiences happened were Windows & Azure. This is a Microsoft thing, a common one.” the employee wrote.
On another occasion, a Microsoft Partner was asked to sit on someone’s lap twice in the same meeting, in front of HR and other executives of the company. And once again, no action was taken.
Microsoft’s head of HR has now discussed the allegations with Microsoft’s senior leadership team, and it’s being dealt with seriously by the company’s top executives, including Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith, who are both part of the email chain.
It would appear that sexual harassment and discrimination is a reoccurring thing at Microsoft. The massive email chain first started off with an employee asking for advice about moving up in the organization after failing to see any potential promotions for 6 years at the company. More and more employees later shared their own stories, and they are all very identical.
It’s honestly sad to see such a big company like Microsoft overlooking serious sexual harassment cases like these. This also isn’t the first time Microsoft is under fire for sexual harassment cases, by the way. There shouldn’t be any excuse to any of this, and Microsoft really needs to do better for a company that claims to empower its employees.