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Microsoft defends record on sexual harassment

Sexual harassment continues to be a major concern for many Florida workers, whether their jobs are in customer service, office management or tech development. Some have claimed that tech giant Microsoft, the maker of the Windows operating system, has treated female workers improperly and failed to provide a proper response to workplace harassment reports. One senior executive responded to these claims by saying the corporation consistently investigates all harassment reports and that about 20 staff members were fired in 2017 over related complaints.

In 2017, the company handled 83 complaints of sexual harassment at work, the executive said. Her further noted that Microsoft's workforce in the United States numbers over 65,000. Of the complaints filed, the executive said that nearly half were found to be supported at least in part. Of those, around half resulted in a firing for harassing behavior. The disclosures come after a lawsuit has alleged that Microsoft discriminated against women on the job, including denying promotions and pay raises.

While the lawsuit was filed in 2015, it has received media attention in 2017 and beyond as the #MeToo movement has highlighted sexual harassment complaints in entertainment and other major industries. In earlier years, the lawsuit alleges, harassment complaints did not show such a strong response from the corporation. Only one out of 118 complaints filed between 2010 and 2016 was considered supported, according to allegations.

The company did not provide additional data about complaints during those years, but the executive claimed that the numbers used were "misleading." Advocates for women in the tech industry have said that public release of harassment complaint data can help to hold businesses collectively accountable for unchecked harassment.

People who have been subjected to sexual harassment on the job have a right to protect their rights against those responsible. Legal counsel could help women harassed at work to file complaints and pursue legal action.

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