Microsoft sued for pay discrimination against women

A class action lawsuit was filed in a Seattle, WA, federal court against Microsoft Corp. by a former female employee on Wednesday. Papers filed with the court said that the plaintiff, one Katherine Moussouris, will be seeking at least $5 million in damages for herself and any female technical Microsoft worker employed in the U.S. since September 2009.

Specifically, the complaint claims that performance rankings of employees used by the company to determine “pay and promotions” favored men using “subjective criteria.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says the company pays male and female employees equal rates, but has also previously made statements suggesting that women shouldn’t be as vocal in asking for raises.

Mr. Nadella later apologized for his comments which were made at a tech conference in 2014.

According to Reuters, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2014 men in the tech industry were paid 24% more than their female counter-parts.

Ms. Moussouris worked for the Redmond, WA, based tech company for seven years, resigning last year because of perceived discrimination.

“We’re committed to a diverse workforce, and to a workplace where all employees have the chance to succeed,” a Microsoft spokesman said in a statement.

“We’ve previously reviewed the plaintiffs allegations about her specific experience and did not find anything to substantiate those claims, and we will carefully review this new complaint.”

Ms. Moussouris had filed a formal complaint with the company when she was still in their employ, accusing a male supervisor of “sexually harassing women in her department.”

As a result, the plaintiff stated in the lawsuit that her supervisor retaliated by giving her a low-rated bonus.

Equal pay laws in the U.S. have been on the books since 1963, and were strengthened shortly after President Obama took office in 2009 with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

Now it’s time to enforce those federal statutes. We’ll see if Katherine Moussouris v. Microsoft Corp passes muster.

 

[Reuters] [Wall Street Journal] [Whitehouse.gov] [Photo courtesy Reuters/Shannon Stapleton]