After court documents suggested Microsoft had a particularly low rate of taking action in sexual harassment or gender discrimination cases over the past few years, the company published an internal memo to employees citing specific numbers from its last fiscal year late Thursday and proclaiming its commitment to “making sure every voice is heard.”
Microsoft recorded 83 sexual harassment complaints from its 65,000 U.S. employees during its last fiscal year, which ended last June. It found that those complaints were “supported in part or in full” in 50 percent of the cases, wrote Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft’s executive vice president of human resources and chief people officer. In more than half of those situations, the subject of the complaint was terminated.
When it comes to gender discrimination complaints, which the company defined as concerns about “whether work assignments are equitable, concerns about being excluded from meetings or training opportunities, as well as concerns about compensation, rewards or promotions based on gender,” Microsoft found the complaints “supported part or in full” only 10 percent of the time. The company took unspecified “appropriate action” in those cases, Hogan wrote.
The disclosure comes after Reuters reported earlier this week on court documents presented as part of a gender discrimination lawsuit against Microsoft that claimed female employees reported 238 complaints about sexual harassment or gender discrimination between 2010 and 2016. During that period, Microsoft found only one gender discrimination complaint out of 118 lodged to be founded, according to the Reuters report.
Hogan did not directly address the 2010 to 2016 numbers in her post, choosing instead to focus on its 2017 fiscal year. However, she said that the 2017 numbers “paint a broadly representative picture of prior years too, especially when you adjust for things like the increase in the number of employees at the company. Reports that we rarely reach a conclusion in favor of the complainant are based on a faulty reading of a partial data set.”