Recently two plaintiffs sought to expand their gender discrimination lawsuit against Microsoft to cover more than 8,500 women who worked for the company in technical roles. The plaintiffs, one a former and one a current employee of Microsoft, brought suit against the company in 2015 alleging “continuing policy, pattern and practice of sex discrimination against female employees in technical and engineering roles, including technical sales and services positions with respect to performance evaluations, pay, promotions, and other terms and conditions of employment.”
A judge denied the claim, citing that there was no common practice that could be applied to the proposed class. The plaintiff’s are appealing the denial, arguing that Microsoft’s discretion-based system does not preclude commonality in the proposed class. The plaintiffs say that Microsoft’s use of a “specific calibration process with common criteria to set pay and evaluate promotions means that even with managerial discretion, the proposed class are subject to a common question.”
Microsoft maintains that it has a commitment to diversity and inclusion and has a budget of more than $55 million per year through 2020 for new initiatives. Still, as the Geekwire article points out, Microsoft reports that a little under 26 percent of its global workforce is female. In tech and leadership roles, the split is about 80/20 in favor of men.
To learn more about details of this case, check out Nat Levy and Kaitlyn Wang’s excellent coverage here: https://www.geekwire.com/2018/current-former-microsoft-employees-appeal-class-action-denial-gender-discrimination-lawsuit/