Microsoft Employees Protest Company’s Treatment Of Women At CEO Meeting

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Microsoft employees took their complaints on discrimination against the women in their workforce to an employee meeting on Thursday with CEO Satya Nadella.

The meeting follows reports of an internal company email chain that circulated in mid-March that aired some simmering grievances. In the communications, female Microsoft employees talked about a glass ceiling, discrimination, and harassment at the company. The complaints, the email chain said, were largely overlooked by Microsoft human resources personnel, according to the original report by Quartz.

At Thursday’s meeting, between 100 to 150 employees asked Nadella about the issues raised in the email discussion, while others watched the meeting in a livestream.  Some employees wore white in emulation of the suffragette movement, most recently seen at the State of the Union address in February.

Reports indicate Nadella expressed empathy at the concerns and disappointment that they occurred. Microsoft chief people officer Kathleen Hogan and Nadella promised that they would offer greater transparency in future advancement at the company.

The email chain revealed many horror stories from the women working at Microsoft. One engineer claimed she had her life threatened by an outside company partner, who also demanded sex during a business trip. She reported the incident to Microsoft human resources and her manager, but was told by the manager that she should “get over it.” When she further complained and asked not to travel with the outside harasser, she was threatened with being laid off. She later transferred to a different department at Microsoft.

Other complaints indicated frustration at not being promoted, bias and disparate treatment.

Hogan vowed that the company would “do better,” and set up meetings with the Microsoft chief diversity officer to discuss potential programs to address the issues.

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