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Microsoft faces a workplace discrimination class action lawsuit

Tech mogul Microsoft is a familiar name in Massachusetts households. Nevertheless, some consumers may be surprised to learn that the company has been accused of workplace discrimination. It faces a federal class action lawsuit filed by one of its former employees. Her complaint accused the company of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Washington Law Against Discrimination.

The plaintiff began working for the company in 2007 as a security program manager. During her tenure, she had tried to better herself and achieve promotions but claims that she was passed over, with her less-qualified male peers chosen instead. Microsoft apparently used a numerical ranking system until 2014, which determined pay raises and promotions within the company. According to the complaint, female workers generally received lower scores, which inhibited their chances for advancement.

The plaintiff claims that when she noticed a supervisor sexually harassing other female co-workers, she reported it. Microsoft reportedly found validity to the claims, but instead of taking other measures, the man was only reassigned elsewhere. The woman alleges that she was retaliated against after she complained, resulting in less responsibility and lower bonuses. The plaintiff quit Microsoft in 2014 after seven years of employment.

Although Microsoft claims that it has a diverse workforce, the statistics don't match. A whopping 76 percent of the workforce in the company is male, and that number increases to 88 percent in upper management. Microsoft denies the workplace discrimination allegations. Many Massachusetts employees put up with discrimination in fear of losing their jobs or facing other forms of retaliation. Nevertheless, employees are protected by state and federal laws and have the right to pursue claims when the evidence indicates that they have been the victims of wrongdoing.


Source: CNN Money, "Microsoft sued for gender discrimination", Sara Ashley O'Brien, Sept. 16, 2015

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