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Microsoft to strengthen its anti-harassment practices with a new implementation plan

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Following ArentFox Schiff's review of Microsoft's sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies, the tech giant has announced that it is introducing new measures to avert harassment and discrimination. The latest course of action will be set in place to ensure a safe and inclusive work environment for its employees.

The law firm, ArentFox, presented a 50-page full transparency report that incorporates its findings and recommendations. The report also mentions allegations about Bill Gates' inappropriate relations with a female employee. After which, the former CEO left the company board in 2020 as some members of Microsoft's Board of Directors wanted Gates to step down, as indicated in a Wall Street Journal report.

Furthermore, the report indicates that Microsoft received a total of 721 complaints from 2019 to 2021. Of the 721 total complaints, 453 are related to gender discrimination, 210 are about sexual harassment, and 58 relate to gender harassment.

Keeping in view the ArentFox report, Microsoft's management team has developed an implementation plan that its Board of Directors approved. Some of the recommendations presented by the law firm will be implemented by June 30th, 2023 while others will be put in place earlier than that.

Microsoft's Chairman and CEO, Satya Nadella, talked about the importance of a safe, inclusive space for the employees, stating:

Cultivating a culture where everyone is empowered to do meaningful work and can thrive is our greatest responsibility at Microsoft. The Board of Directors has taken this investigation seriously and the resulting comprehensive report outlines important areas where we can continue to improve, as well as progress we’ve made. The Board of Directors and our senior leaders are fully committed to this implementation plan as we continually work to close the gap between our espoused culture and the lived experience of our employees.

The Board-approved implementation plan includes a comprehensive policy review, targeted policy revisions, broadening of awareness of legal rights, reinforcing policies with expanded training, reconsideration process, and more. You can read the summary of the Microsoft management team's implementation plan here (PDF).

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