The new Ellen Pao is here, suing an employer over sex discrimination: former Microsoftie Katie Moussouris.
Moussouris just filed a lawsuit against Microsoft claiming that the company systematically discriminates against the women technologists it employs.
Katie Moussouris worked for Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group in Redmond for over seven years, leaving in 2014. She’s now the Chief Policy Officer for a startup called HackerOne, that helps software makers work with the security research community with bounty programs.
She’s charging that Microsoft pays its women tech professionals less than it pays men, disproportionately promotes men over equally or more qualified women, and that women are rated lower in their performance reviews than their male teammates, which leads to lower pay and fewer promotions.
Microsoft sent us this comment about the case:
We’re committed to a diverse workforce, and to a workplace where all employees have the chance to succeed. We’ve previously reviewed the plaintiff’s allegations about her specific experience and did not find anything to substantiate those claims, and we will carefully review this new complaint.
A manager allegedly sexually harassing women employees
Among Moussouris’s allegations is that the man who was director of the Trustworthy Computing Group in 2008 was sexually harassing other women in the group. Her lawyers allege:
- Twitter/Katie Moussouris
“Microsoft investigated and concluded that he had in fact been sexually harassing female employees. Yet Microsoft’s response was to re-assign this male director to another part of the Trustworthy Computing Group, while retaining his title and influence,” her lawyers write in the lawsuit.
Since that time, the man has been promoted to senior director, the lawyers say.
Yet, before he was transferred when he was still her boss, he allegedly “retaliated against” Moussouris by giving her a low bonus that year, the complaint says. She complained about the situation to her superiors and they ignored her complaint, the lawsuit alleges.
She also says she lost out on a promotion opportunity in 2012 while she on maternity leave. The promotion went to a man with less experience, according to the complaint.
Now, it’s always hard to determine if such lawsuits are a brave individual standing out against injustice, or someone with sour grapes who lost out on pay and performance for other reasons.
But this has been filed as a class-action suit. So Moussouris and her lawyers are hoping that other Microsoft women will join the suit and give weight to her allegations.
Nadella got himself in hot water over this issue
Almost a year ago, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella got himself into hot water when he told women tech professionals not to ask for a raise, but to have “faith that the system will give you the right raise.”
- Josh Edelson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
He later apologized and retracted the remarks, and said he conducted research on women’s pay at Microsoft and was satisfied that women were not underpaid at Microsoft.
He said, “women in the US at the same title and level earned 99.7% of what men earned at the same title and level. In any given year, any particular group may be slightly above or slightly below 100 percent.”
There seems to be an uprising of women not content with how women are being treated in the tech world. Ellen Pao, for instance, caused waves in Silicon Valley for suing her former employer for gender discrimination, venture capitalist Kleiner Perkins.