Jan 13, 2022 - Technology

Microsoft to review harassment policies, including Gates allegations

Ina Fried
A photo of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in front of a library of books

Photo: Getty Images

Microsoft said on Thursday that it is launching a review of its policies and practices regarding sexual harassment and gender discrimination, with plans to issue a public report expected this spring.

Of note: Microsoft says the report will summarize the results of any investigations of potential sexual harassment by board members and senior executives — including the board's look into allegations made against co-founder Bill Gates.

  • The inquiry is expected to review how the company investigated Gates, but it's not clear that any fresh details from that effort will be made public.

Driving the news:

How it works: Microsoft is bringing in law firm Arent Fox to conduct an outside review, noting that the firm has not done work for Microsoft on employment issues in the past.

  • Among the things the firm will assess are "the steps that have been taken to hold employees, including executives, accountable for sexual harassment or gender discrimination."
  • Arent Fox will first deliver its findings and recommendations privately to the company, with management preparing a plan to act on the recommendations.
  • The board will then publish a public report "documenting the review and its findings as well as management’s plans for enhancements to current policies and practices."
  • Microsoft says the report will include data on the number of sexual harassment cases investigated and their resolution.

What they're saying: "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," CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement.

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