In a shareholder resolution
released on Wednesday, impact investment firm Arjuna Capital asked Microsoft to release an annual transparency report detailing its sexual harassment policies and investigations into alleged incidents across the company.
“Microsoft is under intense public scrutiny due to numerous sexual harassment claims and an alleged inability to address them in an appropriate and transparent manner,” said Natasha Lamb, managing partner of Arjuna Capital. statement
. “Reports of allegedly inappropriate Bill Gates relationships and sexual advances toward Microsoft employees have only exacerbated concerns, calling into question the culture established by top executives.”
declined to comment on the shareholders’ resolution.
In recent weeks there have been several complaints and reports about Gates ’work behavior. Complaints arose after their divorce
of his wife, Melinda French Gates, was announced in early May.
Much of the focus has been on an affair between Gates and a Microsoft employee in 2000, a relationship that Gates representatives have acknowledged and which, according to reports, took place.
while he was chairman of the board. The Microsoft board said it began research on the issue two years ago. Doors he left Microsoft’s board in early 2020
, although a Gates spokesman has said the decision has nothing to do with the investigation.
Microsoft has faced broader accusations from employees alleging gender discrimination and sexual harassment, and received an attack class action lawsuit
in 2015, in which a former employee claimed she was unfairly discriminated against. The company said at the time that it was “committed to a diverse workforce.”
In 2019, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced a review of how the company handles human resource disputes in a letter to employees
, compromising more employee support and greater transparency.
Last month, Nadella dealt with the allegations
against Gates and questions about company culture.
“The Microsoft of 2021 is very different from the Microsoft of 2000,” Nadella said in an interview with CNBC. “For me and for everyone at Microsoft, our focus on our culture, our diversity, our inclusion, in particular, the daily experience of our people is very important, it’s a big priority.”
In its resolution, Arjuna Capital urged the company to publish the results of independent investigations into allegations of misconduct, as well as the number of cases of sexual harassment investigated.
“To avoid legal and reputational risks and maintain shareholder value, Microsoft must create a culture of accountability and transparency, which protects employees from harassment and discrimination,” the investment firm said.
Arjuna Capital has pressurized technology companies
i large companies
– included Facebook (FB)
, Amazon (AMZN)
, Alphabet (GOOGL)
i Twitter (TWTR)
– on various issues, including wage disparities, sexual harassment, civil rights and climate change.
Its latest resolution for Microsoft will be presented at the company’s shareholder meeting this December.