Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) received 238 complaints from women on gender discrimination and sexual harassment over six years, according to court filings made public on March 12, 2018.
The women who filed the complaints between 2010 and 2016 worked in technical positions based in the U.S. branches of the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant.
Plaintiffs claimed that Microsoft systemically denies promotions and pay raises to women. The suit was filed in 2015 in Seattle federal court but is garnering attention in recent months with the rise of coverage on issues of sexual harassment in the workforce. (See also: Ex-Google Employee Files Sexual Harassment Suit.)
Microsoft reportedly said in the court documents that it has no policy on forbidding or delaying pay raises or promotions to women. It said it spends upwards of $55 million annually toward diversity and inclusion efforts.
Volume of harassment complaints "shocking"
As part of the process of the class-action lawsuit, which theoretically could cover more than 8,000 women, details on Microsoft’s practices in human resources were also released March 12. That includes the number of internal complaints on sexual harassment, which is data that companies generally keep private. (See also: Why Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix Pose a Risk to the Stock Market.)
The attorney for the plaintiffs argued that Microsoft’s response to the complaints was “lackluster” and the volume of complaints was “shocking.”
A date for the trial has not been scheduled. The technology sector in particular has been rocked with sexual harassment allegations in the past year, including at companies like Uber Technologies Inc. and Google (GOOGL).
In tandem with a broader rally in stocks, shares of Microsoft are up 49.8 percent in the past year, and up 7.9 percent in the past month alone. (See also: Microsoft: 7 Secrets You Didn’t Know.)