Microsoft has announced that the company hired a law firm to review how the company handled sexual harassment allegations against some of its top executives including its founder, Bill Gates.
According to Mail Online, the review would be conducted by Washington, D.C.-based Arent Fox LLP, which the board of directors selected because of its experience in dealing with sexual harassment allegations and has not conducted much work with the company in the past.
After the law firm’s findings, Microsoft would release a report detailing its sexual harassment investigations and if any, actions were taken as a result.
The company was hit with sexual harassment allegations against Gates going back to 2000.
He stepped down from the company amid an investigation into one of his relationships with a former employee in 2020, and on May 3, 2021, he announced his divorce to his longtime wife, Melinda French Gates.
There was a publication which detailed how Gates sexually harassed several of his employees and remained a loyal friend to pedophile Jeffrey Epstein three years after he was convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor.
According to a statement by Microsoft Chief Executive, Satya Nadella, on Thursday, “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.”
”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. I embrace this comprehensive review as an opportunity to continue to get better.”
The move to hire an independent firm to review the company’s investigations after activist shareholders demanded greater disclosure of the company’s handling of sexual harassment issues.
As part of the review, Arent Fox will be expected to submit its findings to Microsoft’s senior management and board members with recommendations on how to improve the culture at the company.
The company would then share a summary of the findings with the public in the spring, which would lead to a public release of Microsoft’s transparency report detailing the effectiveness of the company’s workplace policies related to sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
The report will include data on the number of sexual harassment cases Microsoft has investigated, and what the results of those investigations were, and the report is expected to summarise the results of investigations into Gates and other senior leaders.
Microsoft executives said the report “will assess the steps that have been taken to hold employees, including executives, accountable for sexual harassment or gender discrimination.”
Founder Bill Gates has been accused of soliciting at least two employees while he was running the tech giant, it was learnt.
In one of the incidents, in 2007, it was reported that Gates sat through a presentation by a Microsoft employee then promptly emailed her asking for a date.
He reportedly wrote, “If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened.”