It all started with an internal chain of emails, first revealed by the Quartz medium. This chain of messages described an outrageous series of acts of discrimination and sexual harassment experienced by women in the company. The network received hundreds of responses since its inception on March 20, according to Wired media, motivating staff to protest against toxic working environments in a question-and-answer meeting with the company's executive director, Satya Nadella, on Thursday.
The accusations in the email chain include issues that many consider typical in the technology industry, such as lack of promotions and unfair treatment of employees belonging to under-represented groups. But some accusations go further: an employee of a company associated with Microsoft replied to the mail chain denouncing that "she had been asked twice to sit on another person's lap during a meeting in which the human resources department and other managers participated", stating that none of them did anything to respond to such a violation of company policy. "The person who asked me said I shouldn't repeat it a second time," and continues, "but no one did anything about it.
Another Microsoft employee claimed that a worker from an associated company threatened to kill her if she did not have sex with him during a business trip, noting also the complicity of the human resources department, as well as the absence of an investigation or disciplinary action against the other party involved. "I told the human resources department immediately," the employee wrote, according to Quartz, "but my boss said it sounded like a simple flirtation, and I should forget it."
The director of human resources, Kathleen Hogan, would have responded to the post office on 29 March, to communicate the matter to Nadella on the same day, also offering employees who had had such experiences the possibility of contacting her directly.
In response, a question-and-answer meeting was held with Executive Director Satya Nadella, attended by between 100 and 150 workers, not counting those who participated by live broadcast. According to some of the attendees, Nadella and Hogan had promised the staff greater transparency and action in the cases described by the emails.
It is not the first time that the company is in the spotlight due to this type of episode. As early as March 2018, a class action lawsuit alleged 238 cases of discrimination or sexual harassment occurred between 2010 and 2016, which the company would not have taken with the corresponding seriousness.
What do you think? Do you consider it acceptable for a company of this caliber to ignore episodes of discrimination and harassment? Do you think gender equality is further away than we think? Tell us your always respectful opinion in the comments below.