Microsoft dealing with complaints about sexual harassment

Workers in Tennessee who have experienced workplace discrimination might find the allegations about widespread sexual harassment at Microsoft Corporation familiar. An email chain that circulated among Microsoft employees has detailed multiple complaints about mistreatment and dismissal of women's complaints. Over 90 pages of email messages have become public, and senior leadership at the company plans to investigate the problems.

The head of human resources said that top executives were upset when they heard about the experiences described in the email chain. The chain got started when a female employee emailed female colleagues in search of advice about how to advance at the company. She said that she had held the same position for six years and saw no way to get a promotion. Dozens of replies resulted from the sharing of the email as many employees shared their negative experiences.

One woman recounted how her manager ignored a death threat that she received after rejecting requests for sex from an employee at a partner company. Another woman who held a senior position endured two requests that she sit on a man's lap at a meeting where executives and human resources personnel were present. She said that no one supported her complaints.

Unwanted sexual advances and a dismissive attitude toward complaints create hostile work environments that interfere with people's careers. A person experiencing sexual harassment might want to know more about legal rights before making a formal complaint. The support of an attorney may help the person cite the laws that have been violated. Pressure from an attorney might result in a company conducting a serious investigation and potentially paying a financial settlement to the mistreated employee.

Source: Quartz, "Amid employee uproar, Microsoft is investigating sexual harassment claims overlooked by HR", Dave Gershgorn, April 4, 2019

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