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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."

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
22 mins ago - Economy & Business

The fragile recovery

Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits is falling but remains remarkably high three weeks before pandemic assistance programs are set to expire. More than 1 million people a week are still filing for initial jobless claims, including nearly 300,000 applying for pandemic assistance.

By the numbers: As of Nov. 14, 20.2 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits of some kind, including more than 13.4 million on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs that were created as part of the CARES Act and end on Dec. 26.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
42 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The top candidates Biden is considering for key energy and climate roles

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged President-elect Joe Biden to nominate Mary Nichols, chair of California's air pollution regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The reported push by Schumer could boost Nichol's chances of leading an agency that will play a pivotal role in Biden's vow to enact aggressive new climate policies — especially because the plan is likely to rest heavily on executive actions.

U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows

Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 6.9%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The labor market continues to recover even as coronavirus cases surge— though it's still millions of jobs short of the pre-pandemic level. The problem is that the rate of recovery is slowing significantly.