In California and most other states, discrimination is illegal, but it doesn't mean that it can't happen. An email chain that was started on March 20 and includes a number of female Microsoft employees caught the attention of senior leaders within the organization. The chain was started by a woman who had worked for the company for six years and was looking for tips on how to get a promotion.
The company was using a regularly scheduled company meeting to ask individuals in the chain to speak more about their experiences. In the chain itself, one women said that she was asked to sit on a colleague's lap. Another said that she was relegated to making dinner reservations despite the fact that it was outside of her role in the project she was assigned to. In one instance, an employee threatened to kill a female coworker if she denied his sexual advances.
When reporting the incident to HR, she was told that he was just flirting. Furthermore, since there was no evidence of the incident, the company dismissed her concerns and told her to move on from it. Those who took part in the email chain said that it was empowering and brought the problem of sexual harassment to light. The company was also the target of a 2018 class action lawsuit claiming previous claims were not taken seriously.
Workers who are subject to sexual harassment or discrimination at work may have recourse to hold their employers accountable for what they experienced. In some cases, it might be possible to file a lawsuit seeking financial damages and other relief. Compensation for back pay and benefits may also be available for those who were wrongfully terminated after making claims of sexual harassment to their employers.