Microsoft faces down a new claim that pro-diversity hiring isn’t fair to white men

Microsoft employees have been using an internal message board to criticize the company's efforts for diversity, referring to the hiring of women and minorities as "discriminatory" against white and Asian men, according to a report by ] Quartz . Microsoft has left these threads intact, generating criticism from other employees who feel that the company is talking about their diversity and inclusion efforts, but takes little significant action to strengthen them at a cultural level.

The sentiments, some of which were shared in threads earlier this year and at the end of last year, highlight the tensions within the company at a particularly difficult time. Earlier this month, Microsoft women began to share stories of sexual harassment and discrimination and claimed that the company has done little or nothing to solve the problems. Their stories have become international headlines and have received a response from CEO Satya Nadella, who says that the company is as dedicated as ever to its diversity and inclusion efforts and will renew the way its human resources division investigates these cases.

But Microsoft's lack of official response to internal messages against diversity speaks to the challenges the company faces to truly fulfill its efforts. The situation resembles the one that Google faced with James Damore, a software engineer who criticized his employer's diversity efforts and published an internal note implying that female workers are not as competent in technical roles as male workers.

After several days, Google fired him for violating his code of conduct and "promoting prejudicial gender stereotypes," as CEO Sundar Pichai said at the time. The situation gained widespread criticism from Google by conservatives who claimed that Google was punishing Damore for his ideology and drowning dissident views. Damore filed a claim for unjustified dismissal against Google, which has since withdrawn from the court and has gone to arbitration.

In this case, it seems that Microsoft employees reject the notion that women and minorities in technology face enormous discrimination and harassment, saying that the company is overcorrecting its hiring practices and incentivizing Managers to avoid hiring white and Asian men. which are predominantly representative of the technological workforce in each of the main companies in the industry. It seems that no disciplinary action has been taken against any employee involved in these threads.

"Does Microsoft have any plans to end the current policy that financially encourages discriminatory hiring practices?" To be clear, I refer to the fact that senior managers are granted more money if they discriminate against Asians and the white men, "says one of the messages, which garnered hundreds of comments, made by a Microsoft-owned engineer. The Yammer business messaging application, according to Quartz . The messages, and similar ones, have been largely made on the Yammer channel of "CEO Connection," Quartz reports, which means they are designed to address issues that employees want Nadella to address when Talk to the whole company.

Numerous issues like these remain open with intact comments, Quartz reports. Some include cases of employees who disagree with Microsoft's official position on diversity and who demand more evidence that a diverse workforce is beneficial to the company.

Microsoft tells you The Verge that top-level employees, including a member of the Human Resources team has posted on one of the threads to say that the company does not allow any kind of discrimination, while Another official spoke to clarify misconceptions about how diversity-based compensation works. Microsoft said that there have also been a significant number of counterpoints in favor of the diversity expressed in the threads, and that the general discussion has mainly involved a small number of employees that number in the tens. However, Quartz reports that one of the most active anti-diversity subprocesses included more than 800 comments, while another thread from last year lamented the lack of diversity in Microsoft's Azure cloud computing division. generated more than 1,000. 19659010] The company declined to comment further on disciplinary measures or its policies to allow employees to express criticisms such as these.

The situation highlights a complex commitment on behalf of technology companies that often resist imposing restrictions on employees' internal discourse, but that also tend to fail to meet high diversity goals and difficult decisions related with the culture of the workplace. According to an email sent by Nadella after the women began to express cases of sexual harassment and discrimination in the company, Microsoft has instructed its employees that rejecting their diversity initiatives can negatively affect their careers.

"Last year, we increased our commitment to a new central inclusion priority for each employee, if it is not helping to create an inclusive culture, its rewards , his professional career and, possibly, even his employment will be affected, "Nadella wrote, adding that Microsoft's leading leadership members have diversity objectives linked to their compensation. "Together, I believe these new steps will move us further and faster to create an inclusive culture that values ​​diversity and helps us all develop a growth mindset to learn from each other."

However, some Microsoft employees now wonder if Nadella and her management team's commitment to diversity and inclusion is genuine, since there do not seem to be negative consequences for criticizing her efforts. "RH, Satya, all the leaders are sending emails that want to have an inclusive culture, but they are not willing to take any action other than talking about it," said an employee Quartz . "They allow people to publish these harmful and stereotyped things about women and minorities, and they do nothing about it."

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