Microsoft Concludes Agreement in California Employee Leave Probe

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Microsoft Resolves $20.9 Million Investigation into California Worker Leave

Microsoft Resolves $20.9 Million Investigation Regarding California Worker Leave

Microsoft Concludes Agreement in California Employee Leave Probe

Quick Read

  • Microsoft agrees to a $14 million ($20.9 million) settlement regarding worker leave claims.
  • Allegations comprised retaliatory actions against employees who took parental, disability, pregnancy, and family-care leave starting from 2017.
  • The settlement requires approval from a state judge.
  • Microsoft refutes any allegations of misconduct but agrees to implement policy revisions and provide training.
  • The California Civil Rights Department has a track record of securing substantial settlements in comparable cases.

Historical Context of the Settlement

The California Civil Rights Department (CRD) has alleged that Microsoft has been penalizing its employees in California who have taken various types of leave, such as parental, disability, pregnancy, and family-care leave, since 2017. These employees, many of whom are women and individuals with disabilities, reportedly received lower performance-review scores, adversely affecting their salaries, promotions, and career progression.

Specifics of the Accusations

Based on the CRD filings in state court, Microsoft retaliated against employees by withholding raises, promotions, and stock awards. This practice had a disproportionate impact on women and disabled workers. The department’s investigation, which spanned several years, determined that these actions infringed upon worker rights.

Microsoft’s Response

Upon agreeing to the settlement, Microsoft denied any misconduct. A company representative asserted that Microsoft is dedicated to fostering an environment that encourages employees to take leave when necessary and provides flexibility and support for their professional and personal development.

Other Major Settlements

The CRD has obtained numerous notable settlements in recent years. These consist of:

  • A $100 million agreement with the video game developer Riot Games in 2021.
  • A settlement worth $54 million with Activision Blizzard that occurred last year.
  • A $15 million settlement with Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, last month.

Impact on Workers

The number of workers who will benefit from the settlement is still uncertain. Microsoft has about 6,700 employees in California. The settlement is intended to offer direct assistance to affected workers and to prevent future instances of discrimination.

Commitments from Microsoft

Alongside the monetary settlement, Microsoft has committed to implementing a series of actions to guarantee adherence to non-discriminatory practices.

  • Engaging an external consultant to assess corporate policies.
  • Enabling employees to voice their grievances without apprehension of retribution.
  • Offering training programs to managers and human resources staff.


Microsoft has agreed to pay a $20.9 million settlement to address accusations by the California Civil Rights Department that it discriminated against employees taking medical or family-care leave. While the tech company has denied any misconduct, it has pledged to implement policy changes and training to avoid future discrimination.


What led to the inquiry into Microsoft’s actions?


The California Civil Rights Department initiated an investigation into Microsoft’s practices after receiving reports that employees who took different types of leave were being unjustly penalized regarding raises, promotions, and performance evaluations.

Q: What was the number of employees impacted by these practices?


The precise number of employees impacted is uncertain; however, Microsoft has approximately 6,700 employees in California. The settlement seeks to offer assistance to all affected workers.

Q: What measures is Microsoft implementing to ensure adherence in the future?


Microsoft has committed to bringing in an independent consultant to assess its policies, enabling employees to voice complaints without concern of retaliation, and offering training to managers and HR staff.

Q: Has Microsoft acknowledged any misconduct?


Microsoft has denied any misconduct in this issue. The company asserted that it disagrees with the accusations but is dedicated to supporting its employees.

Q: Have other companies encountered similar accusations?


Certainly! Here’s the reworded text:

Indeed, organizations such as Riot Games, Activision Blizzard, and Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, have encountered comparable accusations and have negotiated substantial settlements with the California Civil Rights Department in the past few years.

What responsibilities does the independent consultant have?


The freelance consultant will verify that Microsoft’s guidelines are fair to employees taking leave and will assist in making required adjustments to foster an inclusive workplace.

Q: How will this settlement influence Microsoft’s general policies for employees?


This agreement is expected to result in stricter supervision and modifications to Microsoft’s employment policies, with the goal of fostering a fairer workplace where taking leave does not lead to unjust punishments.

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