Microsoft Will Release Annual Sexual Harassment Report Following Investigation

Microsoft has committed to changing its sexual harassment and discrimination practices following an investigation by a law firm it hired to look into them. One of the biggest changes it will make, by June 30, 2023, is the release of an annual report which will include the number of reported incidents of sexual harassment and gender discrimination as well as what actions the company takes as a result of them.

As reported by The Verge, (via ResetEra) these changes should help keep the company accountable and aid with transparency around issues that are far too often swept under the rug.

As well as this outward transparency, Microsoft will also make moves to ensure employees are more aware of their own legal rights "to seek external relief for concerns raised under the anti-harassment and discrimination policies."

The company has also stated in a blog post that "senior leaders will continue to be held accountable for substantiated policy violations and behavioral concerns." A section in the 50-page report reads, "some employees had a perception based on some degree of evidence that [Microsoft] tolerated [some senior execs] inappropriate conduct." The report advised, "taking some actions that attempt to minimize that perception, such as making it clear in policies that the proscriptions apply to all levels of employees, up to and including the SLT."

This news follows reports that Microsoft execs verbally abused and sexually harassed employees with little repercussion. Lead Kinnect and HoloWear developer Alex Kipman was named extensively in this report and left Microsoft in June 2022 following the allegations. In the internal email regarding his departure, it is said it was "mutually decided" it was the right time for him to leave, but no mention of the allegations was made.

Microsoft tidying up its own image ahead of its acquisition of Activision Blizzard is a smart move. Activision BLizzard is currently involved with lawsuits regarding its own "frat boy" culture, and despite frequent staff walkouts, CEO Bobby Kotick – who allegedly knew about and covered up a lot of abuse – is still at the company.

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