Microsoft opens a review of its sexual harassment policies.

Microsoft has chosen a law firm to review its sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies, the company’s board announced Thursday, when shareholders raised alarm over how Bill Gates, one of Microsoft and one of its founders, treated employees, especially women. Then.

The board said it chose Arent Fox, based in Washington, D.C. Microsoft said the firm had never done employment-related work for it in the past.

Shareholders passed a resolution during the company’s 2021 annual meeting to review policies by Microsoft to protect its employees from abuse and unwanted sexual advances.

The resolution was passed with the support of about 78 percent of Microsoft shareholders. There were only five proposals on ethical issues presented by shareholders to succeed. Others, such as calls for a report on gender- and gender-based pay differences in the company and a pledge to ban the sale of facial recognition to government agencies, failed.

“Microsoft is under intense public scrutiny for its numerous allegations of sexual harassment and its alleged failure to address them adequately and transparently,” the resolution said in a statement. “Reports of Bill Gates’ inappropriate relationships and sexual harassment of Microsoft employees have only raised concerns, calling into question the culture determined by the top leadership and the role of the board in holding those responsible accountable.”

Mr. According to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, Gates requested at least two employees while he was running Microsoft. In one incident, in 2007, Mr. Gates sat down through a presentation by a Microsoft employee, then immediately emailed her to ask for a date. Microsoft leaders later accused Mr. Gates not to do such things. In 2019, Microsoft’s board received a letter from an engineer claiming that he had a sexual relationship with Mr. Gates in 2000. Mr.’s spokesperson. Gates confirmed that the two had an affair that “ended amicably.”

Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, said in a statement on Thursday that workplace culture was “no. 1 priority. “

“We are committed not only to reviewing reports but also to learning from evaluations so that we can continue to improve our employees’ experiences,” he said.

Karen Weiss Contribution Report.

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