Microsoft Agrees to $14 Million Settlement Over Leave Discrimination Claims in California

EU Antitrust Scrutiny on Microsoft and Google’s AI Deals

Key Points:

  • Microsoft has agreed to pay $14 million to settle claims of leave discrimination.
  • Women and individuals with disabilities were disproportionately impacted by the alleged discrimination.
  • Microsoft denies wrongdoing but has agreed to the settlement to resolve the claims.
  • Microsoft will hire an independent consultant, allow employees to raise complaints, and provide training to managers and HR personnel to prevent future discrimination.

Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) has agreed to pay $14 million to settle claims from the California Civil Rights Department that it unlawfully penalized workers who took medical or family-care leave. The state agency accused the tech giant of retaliating against employees who utilized parental, disability, pregnancy, and family-care leave by denying them raises, promotions, and stock awards since 2017.

The affected employees, many of whom were women and individuals with disabilities, reportedly received lower performance review scores, which impacted their pay, promotion opportunities, and overall career trajectory, according to the department. This settlement, pending approval from a state judge, would conclude a multi-year investigation by the Civil Rights Department.

Microsoft has denied any wrongdoing in the settlement agreement. A company spokesperson stated, “Microsoft is committed to an environment that empowers our employees to take leave when needed and provides the flexibility and support necessary for them to thrive professionally and personally.”

In recent years, the California Civil Rights Department has announced several large settlements, primarily in sex discrimination cases. These include a $100 million settlement with video game maker Riot Games in 2021, a $54 million settlement with Activision Blizzard last year, and a $15 million settlement with Snap Inc. last month.

The department accused Microsoft of sex and disability discrimination and of interfering with workers’ rights to take leave. According to court filings, the exact number of employees who will benefit from the settlement remains unclear, but Microsoft, headquartered in Redmond, Washington, has about 6,700 employees in California.

Kevin Kish, director of the Civil Rights Department, emphasized that Microsoft failed to support workers when they needed time to care for themselves and their families. “The settlement announced today will provide direct relief to impacted workers and safeguard against future discrimination at the company,” Kish said.

In addition to the $14 million payout, Microsoft has agreed to hire an independent consultant to ensure company policies do not discriminate against employees who take leave. The company will also implement measures allowing employees to raise complaints and provide training for managers and human resources personnel.

TechGolly editorial team led by Al Mahmud Al Mamun. He worked as an Editor-in-Chief at a world-leading professional research Magazine. Rasel Hossain and Enamul Kabir are supporting as Managing Editor. Our team is intercorporate with technologists, researchers, and technology writers. We have substantial knowledge and background in Information Technology (IT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Embedded Technology.

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