Women who worked at Microsoft Corporation in the United States filed 238 complaints internally about gender discrimination or sexual harassment between the years 2010 and 2016, according to court filings that were reported by Reuters. The number of complaints came to light in a lawsuit filed by female plaintiffs suing Microsoft for systematically denying women pay raises. Microsoft has denied any wrongdoing.
Complaints Kept Secret for Years
The lawsuit, which was filed in Seattle federal court in 2015, is garnering wider attention after a series of powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer and Kevin Spacey have been fired from show business and television jobs following allegations of sexual misconduct. Plaintiffs’ attorneys are pushing to proceed as a class action lawsuit, which could include more than 8,000 women.
Companies typically keep information about internal discrimination complaints private. So, it could be challenging to tell how the number of complaints at Microsoft compares to those of its counterparts and competitors. Reuters reviewed federal lawsuits filed between 2006 and 2016 and found hundreds containing sexual harassment complaints where companies used common civil litigation tactics to keep potentially damning information under wraps.
Harassment and Discrimination
Both harassment and discrimination based on gender or sex are illegal. It is against state and federal laws to harass an employee sexually or pass a woman up for a promotion or a job simply because of her gender. Recent national movements such as #MeToo and Time’s Up have shined the spotlight on the harassment and discrimination women from all walks of life face in the workplace including lack of equal pay.
If you are facing gender-based harassment or discrimination in the workplace, there are a number of steps you can take to protect your rights. As a first step, report the harassing or discriminating practices to your supervisor or human resources. Make sure you log and document every instance that shows harassment or discrimination. Such evidence includes emails, internal memos, etc.
If your employer fails to take any action and you find yourself in a consistently hostile work environment, contact an experienced California employment lawyer who will fight to protect your rights and help you seek compensation for your financial losses as well as your emotional suffering.