Black employees take Microsoft to court

On the heels of a major settlement involving Coca-Cola, another high-profile American firm is charged with racial discrimination.

Six former employees and one current employee of Microsoft Corporation are taking the firm to court, alleging racial discrimination.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer, told a news conference that Microsoft discriminated against black employees in evaluations, compensation, promotions and terminations. He backed up his allegation by saying that in 1999 just 2.6 per cent of the company’s employees were black, and just 1.6 per cent of its managers were black.

A spokesperson for the company has denied the charges, saying that Microsoft has a zero-tolerance policy towards workplace discrimination, and is committed to diversity.

Late last year, another discrimination case was filed against Microsoft, by Monique Donaldson who claimed the company exhibited racial and gender-based bias. That lawsuit is pending in Seattle.

And Peter Browne, who had been the firm’s highest-level black executive, filed a discrimination lawsuit before quitting the firm last September.

This high-profile discrimination case comes on the heels of a major case involving the Coca-Cola Co. and 2,000 of its black employees. Coke settled with the workers, giving them $40,000 each and implementing a $36-million employment equity plan.

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