Discrimination Allegations Against Microsoft will be settled with $14M for Employees

Discrimination Allegations Against Microsoft will be settled with $14M for Employees

AP SAN FRANCISCO — The California Civil Rights Department announced on Wednesday that Microsoft Corp. has agreed to pay $14.4 million to settle claims that the multinational software company discriminated and retaliated against workers who took maternity and disability leave.

The California agency’s multi-year inquiry led to the proposed settlement, and the consent decree is pending approval in Santa Clara County state court, where the company based in Redmond, Washington, has an office.

The state agency claimed that workers who took time off for pregnancy, disability, caring for a sick family member, or bonding with a new infant would suffer worse performance ratings and bonuses. The government began its inquiry into this claim in 2020.

According to the agency, women and people with disabilities were disproportionately affected by the practice, which in turn hurt employees’ eligibility for merit pay raises and promotions.

Director of the civil rights department Kevin Kish praised the business in a statement, saying that it “came to the table and agreed to make the changes necessary to protect workers in California.”

The agency’s accusations are untrue, Microsoft said in a statement, but it “will continue to listen, learn, and support our employees.”

Microsoft will take action to stop prejudice in the future as part of the proposed settlement, including new manager training. The company’s compliance will be observed and reported on by an outside expert.

$14.2 million, the majority of the settlement funds, will be given to injured workers. Covered employees were those who worked for Microsoft between May 13, 2017, and a date that has not yet been specified by the court for the settlement’s approval. They also had to take at least one leave that was authorized by federal or state law.

A base payment of $1,500 will be made to each qualified employee; additional funds may be available depending on variables like length of service and salary.

The state civil rights department estimates that Microsoft employs roughly 7,000 people in California out of its approximately 221,000 employees worldwide. The number of workers who could be paid was not estimated by the agency.

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