Employment Law

Microsoft Gender Discrimination

Issue/Allegation: Gender discrimination

Case Update

On September 20, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted Plaintiffs’ permission to appeal the district court’s June 25 denial of Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. Plaintiffs’ opening brief in the appeal is due on January 30, 2019. (See Ninth Circuit case no. 18-35791, docket entry 6.) Plaintiffs expect briefing to be completed in spring 2019 and, based on the timing of other recent Ninth Circuit civil appeals, anticipate that the Ninth Circuit will hold oral argument in late 2019 or early 2020.

Unfortunately, the court’s denial of class certification means that it is possible that any individual claims you may have against Microsoft may no longer be protected by the lawsuit at this time.

If you wish to pursue your own federal claims against Microsoft, you may need to file your own charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It is possible that your deadline to do so may run from June 25, 2018, the date that the district court denied Plaintiffs’ class certification motion. Generally, the time to file an EEOC charge is either 180 or 300 days from the last act of discrimination, depending on the state in which you worked. In Washington state, the deadline is 300 days for such federal claims. If you wish to discuss the timing and filing of the charge of discrimination to fully protect your potential legal claims, you may contact us at (212) 245-1000 or (415) 956-1000.

Previous Case Updates

Plaintiffs filed a reply brief in support of their motion for class certification on February 9, 2018. A public version of the motion is available here. Plaintiffs filed three expert reports in support of their reply brief. Public versions of these expert reports are available herehere, and here.

Plaintiffs filed their motion for class certification on October 27, 2017. A public version of the motion is available here. Plaintiffs are currently seeking to unseal most of the evidence in support of their motion and expect more of that material to be publicly available in the coming months. Microsoft’s opposition to the motion for class certification is due on January 5, 2018, and Plaintiffs’ reply is due on February 9, 2018. After that, the Court will issue an order, which typically takes from one to five months. Plaintiffs’ motion seeks certification of a class of female employees who worked in the Engineering or I/T Operations Professions and in stock levels 59-67 from September 16, 2012 to the present.

On October 14, 2016, the district court denied Microsoft’s second motion to dismiss the disparate impact claims in the case. The court also ruled that the statute of limitations for the Washington state law claim extends back to September 16, 2012. Read a copy of the court’s order here.

On March 8, 2016, the district court denied Microsoft’s first motion to dismiss the case. The court ruled that discovery shall proceed based on Plaintiffs’ current class definition, which includes all current and former female technical professionals employed by Microsoft in the U.S. The court gave Plaintiffs thirty days to file an amended complaint pleading their disparate impact claim in more detail. The amended complaint was filed on April 7, 2016. Read a copy of the court’s order here. Read a copy of the amended complaint here.

On September 16, 2015, a gender discrimination class action lawsuit was filed against Microsoft Corporation. The class action, Moussouris v. Microsoft Corporation, Case No. 15-cv-01483, was brought by a former female Microsoft technical professional on behalf of herself and all current and former female technical professionals employed by Microsoft in the U.S. On October 27, 2015, an amended complaint was filed, adding current Microsoft employees Holly Muenchow and Dana Piermarini as named plaintiffs, in addition to Ms. Moussouris.

Allegations of Sex Discrimination in the Workplace by Microsoft

The class action complaint alleges that Microsoft has engaged in systemic and pervasive discrimination against female employees in technical and engineering roles (“female technical employees”) with respect to performance evaluations, pay, promotions, and other terms and conditions of employment. The unchecked gender bias that pervades Microsoft’s corporate culture has resulted in female technical professionals receiving less compensation than similar men, the promotion of men over equally or more qualified women, and less favorable performance evaluation of female technical professionals compared to male peers.

The complaint alleges that the disadvantage to female technical employees in pay and promotion is not isolated or exceptional, but rather the predictable result of Microsoft’s policies and practices and lack of proper accountability measures to ensure fairness, and that Microsoft has implemented these policies and practices despite knowing that they have a long-standing disparate impact on female technical employees.

The complaint further alleges that Microsoft’s continuing policy, pattern, and practice of sex discrimination against female technical employees violates federal and state laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Washington Law Against Discrimination.

The proposed class includes women who worked at Microsoft from September 16, 2012 to the present.

Complete case information is available at microsoftgendercase.com. Female Microsoft employees and ex-employees who wish to speak with case attorneys are encouraged to call case attorney Anne Shaver at 1 800 254-3079 or use the contact form on that website.