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Of 118 sex discrimination complaints, Microsoft found 1 credible

Thanks to a potential class action lawsuit against Microsoft, information has been released about how many gender discrimination and sexual harassment complaints the company received, along with how it handled those complaints. Between 2010 and 2016, women working technical jobs at Microsoft in the U.S. filed 238 internal complaints about sex discrimination or sexual harassment. Of those, 118 were for sex discrimination.

Microsoft deemed only one sex discrimination complaint to be founded, despite the company's reputation for sexism. It is unclear how many sexual harassment complaints were believed.

A group of plaintiffs claims that Microsoft systematically denies women raises and promotions. Microsoft claims it has no such policy. The plaintiffs are seeking class action status, which would allow them to represent the interests of over 8,000 women.

Their attorneys called the number of complaints Microsoft received during those six years as "shocking." That's probably fair, although it's hard to tell. Most companies try to keep information about internal discrimination complaints private, so there is little basis for comparison.

Microsoft claims it has a robust system in place to investigate employee concerns. It claims it wants employees to speak up about their concerns. It says it budgets over $55 million per year toward promoting diversity and inclusion. And it points out that it employed around 74,000 people at the end of last year.

Furthermore, Microsoft claims that the plaintiffs are unable to point to a single instance of a denied pay raise or promotion that its investigators should have determined was a violation of company policy.

The plaintiffs clearly think they can. Moreover, the information about how few internal complaints Microsoft took seriously was just revealed. It's entirely possible that just such a situation will be revealed once the plaintiffs' attorneys look into the 238 gender discrimination and sexual harassment complaints.

It's important to remember that the case is in an early stage. It hasn't even been certified as a class action yet. No judge or jury has yet determined if Microsoft allows or engages in discriminatory activity. The plaintiffs have the burden of proving that, and that process has yet to begin.

That said, does Microsoft seriously mean to say that it received 117 entirely false complaints of sex discrimination between 2010 and 2016?

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