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Microsoft Shareholders Push Company to Publicly Disclose Impact of Sex Harassment Policies

Microsoft has announced its intention to review how it responds to workplace sexual harassment and gender discrimination complaints, including the previous allegations against co-founder Bill Gates. The announcement came after almost 78% of the company’s shareholders voted at their annual meeting to require more accountability from the company.

When Microsoft heard that certain investors were pushing for the company to review its policies and release its data on how well it handles sexual harassment issues in its workplace, it had urged the shareholders to reject the proposal. The proposal was the idea of Natasha Lamb, a co-founder and managing partner of Arjuna Capital - a socially minded impact investment firm. She noted how rare it was to achieve the majority vote made by Microsoft shareholders. Lamb stated in interviews that she has had discussions with Microsoft on how to handle its review. The company hired a law firm to conduct the review. Lamb stated, “Our concern is not just what happened with Microsoft in the past but whether the behavior is being addressed and mitigated moving forward. At the end of the day, from an investor perspective, this is about how the company is treating its employees and whether it’s able to attract and retain talent.”

In addition to providing an assessment of the effectiveness of its anti-discrimination policies and its protections against sexual harassment, Microsoft will also summarize the investigation results from the allegations against Bill Gates and other senior members of the company. It will also outline steps to hold its leaders accountable.