Microsoft hits back at claims it ignored sexual harassment

SAN FRANCISCO, March 16 (Reuters) - A senior executive said Microsoft Corp thoroughly investigates issues raised by women in the workplace and fired about 20 employees last year over complaints of sexual harassment as the company seeks to counter claims that it treats female workers unfairly.

In an email to employees publicly released late on Thursday, Microsoft Chief People Officer Kathleen Hogan said Microsoft had 83 harassment complaints in 2017 out of a U.S.-based workforce of over 65,000 employees.

Salaries of employees at 25 top tech companies:

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Salaries of employees at 25 top tech companies
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Salaries of employees at 25 top tech companies

Google

Average annual bonus: $32,478

Average sign-on bonus: $27,547

Average annual base salary: $136,000

Netflix

Average annual bonus: $0

Average sign-on bonus: $3,520

Average annual base salary: $206,000

Twitter

Average annual bonus: $120

Average sign-on bonus: $26,144

Average annual base salary: $149,000

Apple

Average annual bonus: $20,298

Average sign-on bonus: $27,201

Average annual base salary: $102,000

Facebook

Average annual bonus: $33,225

Average sign-on bonus: $45,708

Average annual base salary: $145,000

Oculus VR

Average annual bonus: $395

Average sign-on bonus: $6,926

Average annual base salary: $119,000

Amazon

Average annual bonus: $24,732

Average sign-on bonus: $41,340

Average annual base salary: $118,000

Square

Average annual bonus: $988

Average sign-on bonus: $17,996

Average annual base salary: $134,000

Uber

Average annual bonus: $31,633

Average sign-on bonus: $1,807

Average annual base salary: $117,000

Pinterest 

Average annual bonus: $4,374

Average sign-on bonus: $33,376

Average annual base salary: $151,000

Tesla

Average annual bonus: $4,779

Average sign-on bonus: $19,447

Average annual base salary: $105,000

UnitedHealth Group

Average annual bonus: $7,280

Average sign-on bonus: $118

Average annual base salary: $87,000

Snap Inc.

Average annual bonus: $10,588

Average sign-on bonus: $23,705

Average annual base salary: $127,000

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.

Average annual bonus: $10,756

Average sign-on bonus: $8,265

Average annual base salary: $131,000

CSRA

Average annual bonus: $13,732

Average sign-on bonus: $1,186

Average annual base salary: $100,000

credit: Facebook

Capital One

Average annual bonus: $15,114

Average sign-on bonus: $8,568

Average annual base salary: $107,000

Fitbit

Average annual bonus: $18,069

Average sign-on bonus: $25,459

Average annual base salary: $128,000

Pandora

Average annual bonus: $22,316

Average sign-on bonus: $18,886

Average annual base salary: $109,000

Microsoft 

Average annual bonus: $23,224

Average sign-on bonus: $20,191

Average annual base salary: $179,000

Airbnb

Average annual bonus: $23,250

Average sign-on bonus: $23,250

Average annual base salary: $124,000

Arista Networks

Average annual bonus: $27,497

Average sign-on bonus: $18,652

Average annual base salary: $151,000

credit: Facebook

Linkedin

Average annual bonus: $32,216

Average sign-on bonus: $25,418

Average annual base salary: $149,000

Dropbox

Average annual bonus: $32,707

Average sign-on bonus: $32,833

Average annual base salary: $144,000

VMware

Average annual bonus: $33,145

Average sign-on bonus: $18,851

Average annual base salary: $147,000

Salesforce

Average annual bonus: $39,959

Average sign-on bonus: $28,314

Average annual base salary: $142,000

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Nearly 50 percent were found to be supported at least in part following an investigation, she said, and more than half of those resulted in the termination of an employee who engaged in unacceptable behavior.

The unusual publication of such data comes as the world's largest software company is defending a lawsuit which alleges it systematically denied pay raises or promotions to women. Microsoft denies it has ever had such a policy.

The lawsuit, filed in Seattle federal court in 2015, is attracting wider attention after a series of powerful men have left or been fired from their jobs in entertainment, the media and politics for sexual misconduct.

Microsoft also investigated 84 complaints of gender discrimination last year, Hogan said, and found around 10 percent of those to be supported at least in part.

Earlier this week, Reuters reported on the contents of unsealed court documents which showed that out of 118 gender discrimination complaints filed by women in U.S.-based technical jobs at Microsoft between 2010 and 2016, only one was deemed "founded" by the company.

Attorneys for the women described the number of complaints as "shocking" in the court filings, and said the response by Microsoft's investigations team was "lackluster."

Hogan's email on Thursday linked to the Reuters story and said the numbers cited by plaintiffs were misleading.

"Reports that we rarely reach a conclusion in favor of the complainant are based on a faulty reading of a partial data set," Hogan wrote.

Hogan's email did not provide additional figures about the time period cited in the court documents.

The plaintiffs based their numbers on documents disclosed by Microsoft during pre-trial discovery in the lawsuit. Kelly Dermody, an attorney for the plaintiffs, declined to comment on Hogan's email.

Alaina Percival, chief executive of Women Who Code, an organization that helps companies increase their number of women developers, said publicly releasing this kind of data can help businesses learn from each other about the best ways to handle sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

"I think other tech companies should follow suit, and I would expect to see that happen," Percival said. (Reporting by Dan Levine Editing by Bill Rigby)

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