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Following a resolution by shareholders, Microsoft’s board has agreed to undertake a review of the effectiveness of the company’s sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies and practices.
The move follows the company being embarrassed by allegations that then CEO Bill Gates had sexually harrassed junior employees and had an affair with an underling which lasted several years
The review will be undertaken by law firm Arent Fox who will undertake the following work:
- It will lead to the public release of a transparency report assessing the effectiveness of the company’s workplace sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies, training, and related policies. This will include a review of concerns raised by employees in 2019 in the “In Need of Assistance” email thread, steps the company has taken to respond to these concerns, and additional steps that could further strengthen these safeguards. The review will also include an analysis of policies, practices, and commitments to create a safe, inclusive work environment.
- The report will summarize the results of any sexual harassment investigations during this same timeframe against members of the Board of Directors and the company’s Senior Leadership Team, including the allegations that a Board committee investigated beginning in 2019 involving Bill Gates.
- It will assess the steps that have been taken to hold employees, including executives, accountable for sexual harassment or gender discrimination.
- The report will include data on the number of sexual harassment cases investigated and their resolution.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s Chairman and CEO, said “Our culture remains our number one priority and the entire Board appreciates the critical importance of a safe and inclusive environment for all Microsoft employees. We’re committed not just to reviewing the report but learning from the assessment so we can continue to improve the experiences of our employees. I embrace this comprehensive review as an opportunity to continue to get better”.