Microsoft probing sexual harassment claims

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San Francisco– An email chain full of sexual harassment claims by women employees prompted Microsoft to initiate an investigation into the issue, according to a report in the Quartz.

Started on March 20, the email chain contains allegations of sexual harassment ranging from sexist comments during work trips to being told to sit on a co-worker’s lap in front of a human resources leader, said the report.

“This thread has pulled the scab off a festering wound. The collective anger and frustration is palpable. A wide audience is now listening. And you know what? I’m good with that,” one Microsoft employee in the email chain wrote, according to Quartz, which independently verified the content of the emails with two Microsoft employees.

According to an account of one female Microsoft employee in the email chain, an employee of a partner company threatened to kill her if she did not perform implied sexual acts.

The employee said she had raised an alarm, but HR and the management did nothing to assuage her concerns.

Another Microsoft employee alleged that while she was working as a “Microsoft Partner” – a senior level person in the organisation – she was asked to sit on a co-worker’s lap.

“As a Microsoft Partner, was asked to sit on someone’s lap twice in one meeting in front of HR and other executives,” she wrote, adding that no one objected to the demand.

After dozens of emails had accumulated on the chain, Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft’s head of human resources, replied on March 29 that she had raised the issue with the company’s senior leadership team, and would personally look into claims that were initially overlooked by HR.

This is not the first time Microsoft faced scrutiny for sexual harassment claims.

According to a class action lawsuit filed in March 2018, the software giant did not take seriously 238 cases of sexual harassment or discrimination between 2010 and 2016. (IANS)

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