Court documents made public Monday showed female employees at Microsoft filed 238 harassment and discrimination complaints from 2010 to 2016.
Plaintiffs suing the tech giant cited those numbers in a lawsuit filed in 2015. They allege Microsoft “systematically” denied “pay raises or promotions to women,” Reuters reported. Microsoft denied the claims.
The plaintiff’s attorneys are hoping the suit can proceed as a class action lawsuit, which might “cover more than 8,000 women.”
The company’s human resources practices were highlighted in the documents made public Monday.
The court documents stated only one gender discrimination complaint out of 118 was “founded” by the globe’s largest software company. The plaintiff’s attorneys called the large number of complaints “shocking” and dubbed Microsoft’s “investigation team” “lackluster.”
Microsoft claimed the plaintiffs were unable to specify one case of a salary or promotion problem that the company deemed a breach of its policy.
A judge has not immediately decided whether to expand the lawsuit as a class action.
Reuters reviewed federal court cases during 2006 and 2016 that showed hundreds of sexual harassment allegations. The review also showed the companies used “common civil litigation tactics to keep potentially damning information under wraps.”
Microsoft argued the number of complaints from women to human resources should be kept under wraps because it could discourage others from reporting incidents in the future.
Microsoft released a statement regarding the complaints, “Diversity and inclusion are critically important to Microsoft. We want employees to speak up if they have concerns and we strive to make it easy for them to do so. We take all employee concerns seriously and have a fair and robust system in place to investigate employee concerns and take appropriate action when necessary.”
Despite the lawsuit being filed in 2015, it gained renewed attention following the #MeToo movement.