Microsoft is changing its sexual harassment policies in response to findings from law firm Arent Fox Schiff, which it hired to evaluate the company’s policies on sexual misconduct and discrimination in the workplace. ‘
The 50-page report includes several recommendations that Microsoft will implement by June 30, 2023, some of which will be implemented sooner.
In a Microsoft blog post, the company’s response commits to publishing an annual report on the company’s sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies, which includes the number of incidents reported and the actions taken as a result. It is also working to review its anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies and reform the way it conducts investigations.
The report also addresses certain incidents, including allegations of former CEO Bill Gates’ affair with a female employee. Gates resigned from the company’s board in 2020, according to a Wall Street Journal report that board members urged him to resign before the investigation into the case was completed. According to the report, Gates claimed the incident was “consensual” but did not provide more details about Microsoft’s response.
In addition to the recommendations, the report also describes recent incidents of harassment and discrimination at Microsoft. According to the report, Microsoft received a total of 721 complaints between 2019 and 2021, with 453 complaints about gender discrimination accounting for the largest share, followed by 210 complaints about sexual harassment and 58 complaints about sexual harassment.
The second part deals with allegations in an Insider report earlier this year that the company allowed “golden boy” managers to get away with inappropriate behavior. The executives implicated in the report, HoloLens co-creator Alex Kipman and cloud director Tom Keane, resigned over the summer, but the ArentFox Schiff report says there is “some evidence that they behaved inappropriately toward female employees” and that this “might have been” a thing. dealt with earlier than expected
“Our biggest commitment at Microsoft is to foster a culture where everyone can do meaningful work and thrive,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. “The government took this inquiry seriously, and the resulting comprehensive report highlights key areas where we can continue to improve and where progress has been made.”