Microsoft came under fire earlier this year from LGT activist organisation as an LGBT ‘friendly’ firm which supported anti-LGBT politicians. The organisation, Zero for Zeros, hoped to prod Pro-LGBT firms from a group of senators and house representatives who had gotten a Zero rating on “Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard for the past two sessions of Congress.” Hence the name, Zero for Zeros.
After successful lobbying, Microsoft’s CVP, US Government Affairs, Fred Humphries Jr. shared the following memo to internal employees:
First, we are creating new advisory councils based on Employee Resource Groups and geographies to increase dialogue and transparency. These groups will play a role similar to the PAC’s Advisory Council, which provides feedback to the Operating Committee on their approach to contributions. We will announce the formation of the groups later this summer.
Second, while we take some time to align operations, I’ve implemented a brief hiatus for political contributions that began July 1 and will be in effect until the fall. Employees should anticipate one additional disclosure that will show the following contributions through the end of June. This giving reflects contributions to a bipartisan group of lawmakers on their work with us on a range of company priorities, including immigration and equality [!!], and policies to promote privacy, climate [!], trade and the Cloud.
Third, moving forward, you can look forward to more communication from CELA, and from me personally, about the MSPAC’s political giving. As a reminder, employees can engage on Yammer and advertised in-person meetings around campus to learn more about the MSPAC. Additionally, the MSPAC website provides regular updates on events and related activities.
Zero for Zeros found this move acceptable, with their campaign manager Lane Hudson saying as much. “Microsoft was the first company that engaged with Zero for Zeros in good faith,” Hudson said in a statement to Washington Blade. “We discussed their concerns, they heard ours and their employees weighed in,” he said. “We are thrilled that they have responded to our campaign.”
Hudson added, “Their plan looks strong and may ultimately be a model for how other companies can ensure that politicians that undermine the values of a company and its employees do not receive the support of their corporate PACs.”