Women Filed 118 Gender Discrimination Claims to Microsoft. Microsoft Deemed 1 As ‘Founded.’
According to court filings made public Monday and reported by Reuters, women working in U.S.-based technical jobs filed 238 internal complaints of gender discrimination or sexual harassment to the tech giant between 2010 and 2016. Of the 118 claims of gender discrimination filed, Microsoft deemed one as “founded,” according to unsealed court documents.
(It’s hard to know whether these numbers are outsize or not since such internal figures are usually keep under wraps.)
The lawsuit, filed in Seattle in 2015, accuses Microsoft of systematically denying pay raises and promotions to women working there. Attorneys representing the plaintiffs want the lawsuit to proceed as a class action that could cover more than 8,000 employees and cited the number of internal complaints against the company.
Microsoft denies gender discrimination of any kind. It argues that there is no statistically significant difference between the pay and promotions of male and female employees who are similarly situated, and that plaintiffs have failed to identify a company practice that would have caused systemic discrimination. It also claims that the plaintiffs haven’t cited a pay or promotion decision that Microsoft’s investigations team should have flagged as violating company policy, but didn’t. According to Reuters, Microsoft had argued that the number of internal complaints to HR should have remained private to not discourage other employees from lodging them in the future.
“Diversity and inclusion are critically important to Microsoft. We want employees to speak up if they have concerns and we strive to make it easy for them to do so. We take all employee concerns seriously and have a fair and robust system in place to investigate employee concerns and take appropriate action when necessary,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Fortune on Tuesday.
In February, Fortune cited the Microsoft case—and some women’s experiences with submitting complaints to the tech giant—in a story that examined how HR departments operate in the #MeToo era. Microsoft told Fortune at the time that the company “encourages employees to raise concerns and has numerous channels for them to do so. We take each concern seriously and have a separate team of experienced professionals whose job it is to investigate these types of allegations thoroughly and in a neutral way, and to reach a fair conclusion based on the evidence.”
Though the case against Microsoft was filed in 2015, it has gained new attention amid the #MeToo era’s reevaluation of how Corporate America treats its female employees. The judge in the case has not yet ruled on whether it can go forward as a class action.
This story has been updated to reflect a comment from a Microsoft spokesperson.