Two posts on the board criticizing Microsoft diversity initiatives as “discriminatory hiring” and suggesting that women are less suited for engineering roles have elicited more than 800 comments, both affirming and criticizing the viewpoints, multiple Microsoft employees have told Quartz. The posts were written by a female Microsoft program manager. Quartz reached out to her directly for comment, and isn’t making her name public at this point, pending her response.
“Does Microsoft have any plans to end the current policy that financially incentivizes discriminatory hiring practices? To be clear, I am referring to the fact that senior leadership is awarded more money if they discriminate against Asians and white men,” read the original post by the Microsoft program manager on Yammer, a corporate messaging platform owned by Microsoft. The employee commented consistently throughout the thread, making similar arguments. Quartz reviewed lengthy sections of the internal discussion provided by Microsoft employees.
“I have an ever-increasing file of white male Microsoft employees who have faced outright and overt discrimination because they had the misfortune of being born both white and male. This is unacceptable,” the program manager wrote in a comment later. The Microsoft employees who spoke to Quartz said they weren’t aware of any action by the company in response, despite the comments being reported to Microsoft’s human resources department.
When contacted by Quartz, Microsoft pointed to comments by three company officials in the message-board threads. A member of Microsoft’s employee investigations team responded to the initial post in January, writing that the company does not tolerate discrimination of any kind. Another Microsoft staff member, who leads the team that helps the board of directors determine executive pay, explained the diversity-based compensation initiative. “Our board and executive leadership team believe diverse and inclusive teams are good for business and consistent with our mission and inspire-to culture,” she wrote. “Linking compensation to these aspirations is an important demonstration of executive commitment to something we believe strongly in.