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Senior Staff Writer

Two additional plaintiffs join Microsoft gender discrimination lawsuit

Oct 28, 20153 mins
Technology Industry

The added plaintiffs are still employed with Microsoft, but say they've faced similar issues

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Credit: Blair Hanley Frank

On Tuesday, lawyers in the gender discrimination lawsuit against Microsoft filed an amended complaint that names two additional plaintiffs, both of whom are current Microsoft employees.

The original paperwork was filed in September.

Katie Moussouris, a noted security researcher and the woman behind the development of Microsoft’s bug bounty program, alleges that over the years Microsoft has engaged in “systemic and pervasive discrimination” against female employees in technical and engineering roles.

On Tuesday, Holly Muenchow and Dana Piermarini, both current Microsoft employees, joined the class action seeking back pay as well as monetary and punitive damages.

The complaint hinges on the promotion policies at Microsoft, which ended in 2013, called stack ranking. Stack ranking is a practice that the complaint says “systematically undervalued female technical employees compared to similarly situated male employees.”

Both Muenchow and Piermarini have outlined grievances similar to Moussouris’ including having to deal with sexist remarks and treatment, reprisals for taking maternity leave, and despite having made significant contributions to Microsoft’s business, they were overlooked for promotions and financial compensation, while lower ranked male peers moved ahead in the company.

Ms. Piermarini has a longer section in the amended filing, highlighting a number of issues including what happened after she went to her manager with a complaint.

“…he dismissed the fact that she had raised concerns with him about his poor treatment of her as compared to others by claiming she had gotten emotional during the meeting. He also singled her out for her child-care responsibilities although they had no impact on her performance and male members of her team were in comparable situations.

“Microsoft Human Resources concluded their investigation into Ms. Piermarini’s complaints finding that her male manager had done nothing wrong. This same man remains Ms. Piermarini’s manager. Upon information and belief, after Ms. Piermarini complained to Human Resources, her manager retaliated by soliciting negative and demonstrably false comments about Ms. Piermarini for her 2015 end of the year performance evaluation. Ms. Piermarini also did not receive a promotion in 2015 and, upon information and belief, was paid a smaller bonus amount in comparison to men performing at or below her level.”

Based on records in PACER, Microsoft still hasn’t responded to the complaint.

Previously, in statements to the media, Microsoft said they’re committed to a diverse workforce, one where all employees have the chance to succeed.

The statement went on to say that they’ve found nothing that support’s the lawsuit’s complaints.

A copy of the updated complaint is online.