Microsoft on Wednesday was hit with a proposed class action lawsuit in US court claiming its policy of ranking employees to determine pay and promotions led to discrimination against women.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Seattle, Washington by former technician Katherine Moussouris, who claims she was passed over for promotions given to less-qualified men and was told supervisors did not like her “manner or style”.
According to the lawsuit, Microsoft gives employees numerical rankings based on performance evaluations and routinely gave female workers lower ratings based on subjective criteria.
“Microsoft systematically undervalues the efforts and achievements of its female technical employees,” said Adam Klein of well-known employment law firm Outten & Golden in New York, one of the firms representing Moussouris.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella last year was criticised for suggesting at an industry conference that women in technology jobs should not ask for pay raises and should have faith that their companies will compensate them fairly. He later apologised, but also maintained that the company paid men and women equally.
Wednesday’s lawsuit appeared to be the first of its kind filed against Microsoft.
Moussouris, who is seeking to represent a class of any female US technical workers employed by Microsoft since 2009, resigned in 2014 after seven years with the company, the lawsuit said.