118 Gender-Bias Complaints at Microsoft, But Only 1 ‘Founded’

Female Microsoft employees in U.S. technical roles filed 118 complaints of gender discrimination with the company between 2010 and 2016, according to court documents. Microsoft's internal investigation unit concluded just one of those complaints was "founded," according to the documents filed by plaintiffs in an ongoing suit against the company.

Adding in complaints of sexual harassment, retaliation and pregnancy discrimination, women at the Redmond-based technology giant formally raised issues about their treatment to human resources a total of 238 times, according to the court documents. The documents didn't indicate how many of the total complaints were determined by Microsoft investigators to be "founded."

The scope of women's complaints against the company was made public Monday as part of an unsealing of documents in the lawsuit. Three women, current and former Microsoft employees, are suing the company, alleging systemic gender discrimination against women in engineering jobs that led to lower pay and a stunted pace of promotions.

The disparity between the number of complaints filed and how many Microsoft found to be policy violations illustrates a key divide in the way many female employees view the company's culture and the inclusive setting that Microsoft says it is striving to create.

Microsoft's case is one of many piling up against giant companies in the technology industry, which has come under fire in recent years for its dearth of female and minority employees and for a workplace culture that some say is hostile toward those groups.

The lawsuit shines a light on Microsoft's internal human-resource procedures and employee frustrations, workplace aspects that corporations often work to keep out of public view. But in Microsoft's case, a federal court determined the details did not need to be sealed.

The plaintiffs' suit seeks class-action status, a designation that could add more than 8,600 women to the case. They say women in...

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