The Ninth Circuit court of appeals in the U.S. is reconsidering the class-action aspect of a gender discrimination case filed against Microsoft in 2015 in a move that could potentially reverse a lower court's decision. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are looking to include over 8,600 Microsoft females in the complaint.
In June, U.S. District Judge James Robart in the state of Washington refused to grant a class action status to the lawsuit, Moussouris v. Microsoft Corporation, stating that the plaintiffs failed to prove discriminatory practices against female employees across the company. The lawsuit was filed by former Microsoft employees Katherine Moussouris, Holly Muenchow, and Dana Piermarini who alleged that the company's policies violate the rights of female employees. The plaintiffs claimed that this practice has remained unchecked.
The case is specifically linked to how compensations and promotions have been carried out at Microsoft based on gender. Plaintiff attorney Kelly Dermody said in a statement:
"We welcome the Ninth Circuit’s clarification of the class certification standards and believe the evidence here demands that Microsoft’s common discriminatory systems be addressed on a class basis so that women at the company can get justice."
A Microsoft spokesman, on the other hand, lauded Robart's decision, and further stated:
"There is no bias in Microsoft’s pay and promotion practices. We remain committed to increasing diversity and making sure that Microsoft continues to be a workplace where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed."
The appellate court is expected to hear the oral arguments in the appeal next year. Meanwhile, the plaintiffs are still required to formally file an appeal with the Ninth Circuit court first.