Microsoft orders probe of Bill Gates harassment allegations

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Microsoft has tapped an out of doors regulation agency to probe its dealing with of office sexual harassment, together with allegations in opposition to its founder Bill Gates, the corporate revealed on Thursday.

The tech giant said regulation agency Arent Fox will compile a report detailing the effectiveness of its inside insurance policies on office sexual harassment and gender discrimination. The announcement adopted mounting strain from shareholders to deal with the state of affairs.

The report will embrace a abstract of any investigations into prime Microsoft executives, together with its board’s 2019 investigation into claims in opposition to Gates. The billionaire was accused of participating in an inappropriate relationship with a feminine Microsoft worker.

“Our culture remains our number one priority and the entire Board appreciates the critical importance of a safe and inclusive environment for all Microsoft employees,” Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella stated in a press release.

“We’re committed not just to reviewing the report but learning from the assessment so we can continue to improve the experiences of our employees,” he added.

A Microsoft device.
The firm shall be reviewing its sexual harassment and gender discrimination insurance policies.
SOPA Images/LightRocket through Gett

In November, Microsoft shareholders overwhelmingly handed a decision calling on the corporate to permit an “independent and transparent” evaluate of its office harassment insurance policies. The decision stated an impartial probe was essential to “avoid legal and reputational risk and maintain shareholder value.”

Last May, the Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft’s board launched an investigation after an engineer stated she had a sexual relationship with Gates. A separate New York Times report stated Gates requested one other workers out on a date instantly after she delivered a presentation he attended.

Gates stepped down from Microsoft’s board in March 2020, citing a want to concentrate on philanthropic endeavors.

Bill Gates
Gates stepped down from the Microsoft board in 2020.
Getty Images

The board’s 2019 investigation was not accomplished following his exit. Microsoft stated Gates’ determination to step down was unrelated to the allegations.

Arent Fox will publicly launch its report with particulars on Microsoft’s insurance policies and coaching on office misconduct. The investigation will embrace a evaluate of the corporate’s response to a 2019 electronic mail thread during which feminine workers detailed allegations of office harassment and discrimination.

The report will embrace information on the quantity and end result of the corporate’s inside sexual harassment probes, in addition to steps Microsoft has taken to carry workers accountable for misconduct. The regulation agency’s findings are anticipated this spring.

Microsoft stated the Arent Fox agency “has not previously been involved in representing Microsoft in employment matters, nor has it done a significant amount of work for the company in the past.”

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