Microsoft is now investigating sexual harassment claims after numerous women in the company shared stories of workplace misconduct and discrimination in a 90-page email thread, according to Quartz.
“This thread has pulled the scab off a festering wound. The collective anger and frustration is palpable. A wide audience is now listening. And you know what? I’m good with that,” one Microsoft employee in the email chain wrote.
The women’s emails told stories of colleagues making sexual advances and requests. One female staffer even talked about how an employee at a partner company threatened to kill her after asking for sexual favors. After bringing it to the attention of her manager and HR representative, she was told to “get over it.”
Other female employees in the thread allege that they had been called “bitch” by males on their team.
The women in the email chain have been notified by Microsoft’s head of human resources, Kathleen Hogan, that she and her team are looking into the claims.
The investigation adds to a pile of Microsoft’s sexual harassment issues. In March 2018, a class action lawsuit was filed against the company listing 238 sexual harassment and gender discrimination complaints between 2010 and 2016.
Microsoft’s latest bout with sexual misconduct claims reflects a larger issue for women in tech. According to a recent report, 52 percent of women in tech say that their companies are not prioritizing gender diversity. Putting gender diversity and inclusion on the back-burner leaves the door open for women in tech to experience discrimination and harassment on the job.
Women currently make up 26.6 percent of Microsoft’s workforce, according to the company’s 2018 Diversity and Inclusion update. Women are 19.7 percent of leadership positions, nearly a 1 percent increase from 2017.
Numbers sound nice, but it takes more than that to build a more inclusive work environment. Hogan told the women in Microsoft’s email chain that those “who felt were dismissed by management or HR” could reach out to her directly.
“I discussed this thread with the [senior leadership team] today. We are appalled and sad to hear about these experiences,” Hogan wrote in her email. “It is very painful to hear these stories and to know that anyone is facing such behavior at Microsoft. We must do better.”