Microsoft has chosen a regulation agency to review its sexual harassment and gender discrimination insurance policies, the corporate’s board introduced on Thursday, after shareholders raised alarms about how Microsoft and Bill Gates, certainly one of its founders, had handled workers, particularly ladies.
The board mentioned it had chosen Arent Fox, primarily based in Washington, D.C. Microsoft mentioned the agency had by no means completed employment-related work for it prior to now.
Shareholders handed a decision throughout the firm’s 2021 annual assembly to review the insurance policies Microsoft has in place for its workers to guard them in opposition to abuse and undesirable sexual advances.
The decision handed with assist from nearly 78 p.c of Microsoft’s shareholders. It was the one of 5 proposals on moral points put forth by shareholders to succeed. Others, like a name for a report on race- and gender-based pay gaps on the firm and a pledge to ban gross sales of facial recognition to government entities, failed.
“Microsoft is under intense public scrutiny due to numerous claims of sexual harassment and an alleged failure to address them adequately and transparently,” the textual content of the decision mentioned. “Reports of Bill Gates’s inappropriate relationships and sexual advances toward Microsoft employees have only exacerbated concerns, putting in question the culture set by top leadership and the board’s role holding those culpable accountable.”
Mr. Gates solicited not less than two workers while he was working Microsoft, in accordance experiences in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. In one incident, in 2007, Mr. Gates sat via a presentation by a Microsoft worker, then instantly emailed her to ask for a date. Microsoft leaders later warned Mr. Gates to not do issues like that. In 2019, Microsoft’s board received a letter from an engineer claiming to have had a sexual relationship with Mr. Gates in 2000. A spokeswoman for Mr. Gates confirmed that the 2 had had an affair that “ended amicably.”
Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief government, mentioned in an announcement on Thursday that office tradition was Microsoft’s “No. 1 priority.”
“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,” he mentioned.
Karen Weise contributed reporting.