Microsoft is Being Sued for Sex Discrimination

By Annalee Newitz on at

Remember when Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told women not to ask for raises, but to “have faith” that they’d get one eventually? According to a class-action suit against Microsoft, this kind of talk was just par for the course at a company that undervalues women and does little to discourage sexual harassment.

Former Microsoft security expert Katie Moussouris (pictured), who worked for seven years with the company’s Trusted Computing Group, is heading up a class-action suit that alleges sex discrimination on a variety of fronts. Now the Chief Policy Officer at HackerOne, Moussouris says that women in technical and engineering jobs at Microsoft experience “systemic and pervasive discrimination ... with respect to performance evaluations, pay, promotions, and other terms and conditions of employment”. As a result, she claims, female Microsoft engineers make less money than their male counterparts, and get promoted less frequently.

The suit also describes how Microsoft management had investigated the head of the Trusted Computing Group for sexual harassment. When they found that him guilty, he was not disciplined: he was simply moved to another group, where he enjoyed the same status and management responsibilities. Eventually, he was promoted to a senior director position. When Moussouris complained, she says that he “retaliated” against her by giving her a low bonus.

Over at Business Insider, Julie Bort reports that Microsoft’s only comment on Moussouris’s legal complaint was as follows:

We’re committed to a diverse workforce, and to a workplace where all employees have the chance to succeed. We’ve previously reviewed the plaintiff’s allegations about her specific experience and did not find anything to substantiate those claims, and we will carefully review this new complaint.

The firm representing Moussouris is actively looking for more women to join the group-action suit. [Microsoft Gender Case]