When it comes to identifying those industries that have been plagued by allegations of gender discrimination, the technology sector is likely one of the last to come to people’s minds. This probably has something to do with the assumption that this otherwise progressive area would naturally give rise to a progressive mindset toward gender roles in the workplace.
As it turns out, this may not be the case. Indeed, statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that men in the tech sector earned roughly 24 percent more than their female counterparts in 2014, while multiple tech giants — including Twitter and Facebook — have been hit with gender discrimination lawsuits over the last 12 months.
In fact, just last week, Microsoft was named in a proposed class action lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington alleging that the company discriminated against women in awarding both pay increases and promotions.
The lawsuit, filed by a former technician, claims that Microsoft’s system of assigning employees numerical rankings based on the results of their performance evaluations routinely resulted in women earning lower numbers due to subjective criteria and promotions going to less qualified men.
The complaint goes on to allege that the technician was once retaliated against in the form of a lower bonus after reporting sexual harassment and ultimately forced to resign in 2014 after seven years with the company when her supervisors failed to address the otherwise discriminatory practices.
The size of the proposed class, which seeks to include any woman employed by Microsoft in a technical position since 2009, remains unclear, as does the amount of damages sought. However, it is worth noting that nearly 117,000 people are currently employed by Microsoft, while the lawsuit estimates that the damages could easily eclipse $5 million.
Stay tuned for updates …
If you believe that you have been victimized by any sort of workplace discrimination, please do not hesitate to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to learn more about the law and your rights.