- Microsoft released results of what it said was an independent review of its sexual harassment policies.
- The review cites Insider's report about allegations of misconduct from "golden boy" executives whose value gave them impunity.
- Microsoft said it would make reforms to "emphasize that senior leaders will continue to be held accountable."
Microsoft just released results of what it said was an independent review of the company's sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies: The firm in charge of the review found Microsoft could have acted earlier to address "inappropriate conduct" alleged in Insider's May 25 investigation into the company's "golden boys."
Earlier this year the company hired law firm ArentFox Schiff to conduct a review into its sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies, including how it handled allegations against Bill Gates, following a 2021 shareholder proposal. Insider's report about allegations widespread misconduct — including sexual harassment and verbal abuse — from executives at Microsoft prompted a review of its handling of complaints about two executives named in the story, HoloLens co-creator Alex Kipman and cloud executive Tom Keane.
"Due to the volume of complaints against these Corporate Vice Presidents," the report states, referring to Kipman and Keane, "there was at least a perception and a degree of evidence that they were engaging in inappropriate conduct toward female employees that could have been addressed earlier than it was."
At the time, employees told Insider that Kipman and Keane seemed impune due to their perceived value to the company. Both resigned this summer following Insider's report.
Current and former Microsoft employees alleged Kipman repeatedly got away with inappropriate behavior toward women employees, including unwanted touching. Kipman resigned less than two weeks after Insider's story published. Keane was accused of berating employees and later resigned in July after 21 years with the company.
The firm's recommendations to Microsoft include to "take steps to minimize perception that senior leaders are not held accountable." "There is and has been a perception among some employees that the Company tolerates and to some degree protects high performing senior executives who may be engaging in inappropriate conduct," the review states in a section about Insider's report.
Microsoft, according to ArentFox's report, provided the firm with records related to allegations of misconduct by Kipman and Keane from 2021 and earlier. The firm did not investigate the allegations, but reviewed the results of Microsoft's own investigations into the allegations and found the company could have addressed inappropriate conduct earlier.
ArentFox's review found "multiple people" from human resources, Global Employee Relations, the Employee Relations Investigation Team and the Workplace Investigations Team "had knowledge of various allegations against these executives, it did not seem that any one of them had all of the knowledge of all of the allegations, which may have been useful in addressing the situation earlier."
Microsoft said it would make reforms, including revising anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies, and expanding training for senior leaders and executives, "to emphasize that senior leaders will continue to be held accountable for substantiated policy violations and behavioral concerns."
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