A couple of days ago, a court ruling compelled Microsoft to disclose details of 108 complaints of sexual harassment which were handled carelessly. In response to that matter, the company has defended its handling of sexual harassment and gender discrimination complaints, saying that it fired about 20 employees last year after investigations revealed unacceptable workplace behavior.
“Every person facing sexual harassment in the workplace can make their case in a public court, rather than behind closed doors in private arbitration”, said Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft’s Chief People Officer in an email to employees. She defended company’s reputation by saying that the company takes employees’ concerns seriously and investigates them thoroughly. According to Hogan;
“We aspire to ensure all voices are heard. We strive to create an environment where everyone is respected, safe and able to do their best work. […] Based on the nature of the concern HR or ERIT will follow up to share suggested next steps and an expected timeline.”
Hogan argued that Microsoft has over 65,000 U.S. employees, and among them, only 83 made sexual harassment complaints in 2017. She further added that among those complaints, nearly half were found “to be supported in part or in full” (legitimate) after investigations. The offending employee was fired in more than half of the supported complaints, making a total number of around 20.
Previously released information in the lawsuit alleges that female employees at Microsoft had filed 238 complaints of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual assault with the company’s internal investigations unit during a seven-year period, but the company has never taken these matters seriously.
The next hearing of the case will be ruled by U.S. District Court Judge James Robart, who will decide that whether the case will become a class action lawsuit in the coming months or not.