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10.18.16

The ‘Sarah Sharps’ of Microsoft: Not the Kind of Scandal the Media Cares Enough to Write About

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 7:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related to this:

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: women, don’t ask for a raise

Woman

Summary: Another example of the large (industrial) scale of sexual discrimination at Microsoft — a company that tries to advertise itself as diverse or tolerant and stigmatise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) as intolerant and/or not diverse

SEXUAL orientation-related and sexual discrimination at at workplace are a common theme. Microsoft’s propaganda mills, however, tried to stigmatise FOSS as hostile to minorities, women, and whatever else isn’t white, straight, middle-aged men.

Microsoft has got quite some audacity though. Microsoft’s hostility towards women [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and hostility towards gay people (or homophobia) [1, 2] were covered here before. Even Microsoft’s new CEO came under fire for it. The latest example of Microsoft sexism is reaching the press now. To quote The Register (one among very few that covered it):

Microsoft will have to defend itself against a lawsuit alleging that its employee rating system was biased against women.

A US district court in Washington has tossed out [PDF] the Redmond giant’s motion to dismiss a complaint lobbed at it by three women engineers, who allege the system for evaluating engineering and technical positions unfairly penalized them.

At issue is the Windows giant’s “Connect” system, the evaluation method Microsoft used to replace the much maligned “stack ranking” process for evaluating employee performance.

The engineers allege that the review system relies on manager and peer input from a group that is overwhelmingly male and, as a result, the female employees they evaluated may have missed out on raises and promotions.

“Plaintiffs allege these performance evaluation methods are ‘invalid’ because they ‘set arbitrary cutoffs among performers with similar performance’ and are ‘not based on valid and reliable performance measures’,” the court’s ruling, dated October 14, reads.

As we noted several months ago, sexism at Microsoft is systemic and a year ago we noted that it's not really a FOSS issue, in spite of a stereotype created and spread by the likes of Microsoft. Hence the relevance to FOSS…

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