Judge rules gender discrimination class-action lawsuit against Microsoft can continue

A United States court has ruled that a class-action lawsuit brought against Microsoft for discriminating against women in the workplace can go ahead. This comes after the company had asked the judge to throw out many of the suit’s claims.

Last year a class-action lawsuit was brought against Microsoft by three of its former employees. The lawsuit argued that Microsoft’s former evaluation system discriminated against women, and that the company “engaged in systemic and pervasive discrimination against female employees in technical and engineering roles with respect to performance evaluations, pay, promotions and other conditions of employment”.

Microsoft has disputed these claims, saying that the company is open to a “diverse workforce” and had asked the judge to throw out many of the claims. However, US district judge James Robart, ruled that the case can go ahead, because the women presented a specific enough scenario of discrimination. Robart did agree with Microsoft though, to limit the scope of the suit to the three years prior to Katie Moussouris’, the chief plaintiff, departure from Microsoft.

According to the BBC the US Labor Department had found preliminary evidence of gender-based discrimination at Microsoft, though the company, whose workforce is 27% female, disputed those findings.

Editor's Note: This article was updated to reflect the fact that the lawsuit will not immediately to trial, there are still a number of steps and procedures before reaching that stage.

Source: BBC | Original gavel image via Brian Turner

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