Microsoft will strengthen its anti-harassment rules following an investigation into the Gates affair

Microsoft is updating its sexual harassment policy in response to findings from ArentFox Schiff, the law firm it hired to evaluate the company’s practices over concerns about sexual misconduct and workplace discrimination. The Report of 50 pages contains a series of recommendations that Microsoft will implement before June 30, 2023, some of which will take effect earlier.

In a post on the Microsoft blog, the Company’s response commits to publishing an annual report on the Company’s policy on sexual harassment and gender discrimination, which will include the number of incidents reported and actions taken as a result. It also wants to review its policies against harassment and discrimination, as well as the way it conducts investigations.

In addition to recommendations, the report also provides an overview of recent harassment and discrimination incidents at Microsoft. According to the report, Microsoft received a total of 721 complaints from 2019 to 2021, of which 453 reported gender discrimination made up the majority, followed by 210 sexual harassment complaints and 58 gender harassment complaints.

Gender or gender discrimination made up the majority of complaints filed with Microsoft.
Image: ArentFox Schiff

Another part deals with the allegations made by a Insider report from earlier this year, alleging that the company has let “golden boy” executives get away with inappropriate behavior. The executives involved in the report, HoloLens co-creator Alex Kipman and cloud manager Tom Keaneresigned in the summer, but ArentFox Schiff’s report suggests there was “a degree of evidence that they engaged in inappropriate behavior towards female employees” and that the issue “could have been addressed sooner than it was”.

“Cultivating a culture where everyone is empowered to do meaningful work and thrive is our greatest responsibility at Microsoft,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. “The board has taken this investigation seriously and the resulting comprehensive report outlines key areas where we can continue to improve, as well as the progress we have made.”

Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.