Apr 4, 2019

Microsoft executives address staff after harassment allegations

CEO Satya Nadella. Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and other top executives expressed their dismay at reports of sexual harassment contained in an internal email chain that spread through the company.

Why it matters: Microsoft and other tech companies continue to struggle with histories in which female employees quietly endured harassment that was seen as a necessary part of trying to make it in the male-dominated industry.

Nadella and HR head Kathleen Hogan addressed the allegations, detailed Thursday in a Quartz report, as part of a regularly scheduled staff Q&A. In the meeting, both Nadella and Hogan pledged to address issues head-on and encouraged employees to report them directly if they don't receive satisfactory responses to any issues, according to a source.

Also at the meeting were many of the company's other top executives including business development chief Peggy Johnson, CFO Amy Hood and executive VP Rajesh Jha.

The Quartz report is largely based on a long email chain that began last month and had been circulating throughout the company. Microsoft has faced lawsuits in the past alleging it did not do enough to properly address harassment complaints.

“This thread has pulled the scab off a festering wound," one employee wrote in the email thread, per Quartz. "The collective anger and frustration is palpable. A wide audience is now listening. And you know what? I’m good with that.”

Microsoft pointed to an email sent by Hogan and quoted in the Quartz piece.

"We are appalled and sad to hear about these experiences," Hogan wrote. "It is very painful to hear these stories and to know that anyone is facing such behavior at Microsoft. We must do better."

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Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to keep his momentum after winning New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hopes to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates are just trying to hang on.

What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination are in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday.

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What to watch in tonight's Democratic debate

Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Colorado. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Bernie Sanders is now the clear front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his opponents are ready to try to knock him down at tonight's debate in Charleston, South Carolina — especially Michael Bloomberg, who was the punching bag at the Las Vegas debate.

Why it matters: This is the last debate before Super Tuesday, when Sanders is expected to win California and Texas and could secure an insurmountable lead for the Democratic nomination. That's a direct threat to the entire field, but especially to Bloomberg, who skipped the early states to focus on the March 3 contests.