Allegations of mistreatment of women at Microsoft have emerged at an employee meeting with the CEO Satya Nadella. There have been claims of discrimination and sexual harassment amongst others at the workplace.
The report by Wired says that nearly 100 to 150 employees attended a Q&A session with Nadella and the event was live-streamed as well. In response to the complaints, Nadella and chief people officer, Kathleen Hogan promised transparency with regards to advancement within Microsoft.
As per the report, one woman was threatened by a man who worked for a partner company if she did not perform a sexual act. Another woman was twice asked to sit on an executive’s lap during a business meet and no one objected to the inappropriate request. A roundtable meeting with women from Xbox revealed that each of them had been called a ‘bitch’ at work.
The matter, as per the report, was first raised in the form of a mail posted to a distribution list for female employees by a woman who’s promotion had been withheld for years even though she had her manager’s support. More responses poured in with several other female colleagues detailing acts of harassment.
On 29 March Kathleen Hogan sent an internal memo to all employees “We are appalled and sad to hear about these experiences,” Hogan wrote. “It is very painful to hear these stories and to know that anyone is facing such behaviour at Microsoft. We must do better. I would like to offer to anyone who has had such demeaning experiences including those who felt were dismissed by management or HR to email me directly.”
Questions about discrimination against women in the tech industry arise time and time again. Back in 2017, Google was sued by a group of women who filed a lawsuit against Google accusing it of discriminating against female employees by underpaying them. It was later proved that men were being underpaid. However, critics as per reports said that the pay doesn’t come close to matching what a female employee would make if she was assigned the ‘appropriate pay grade’ in the first place.