Microsoft ( (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report) shareholders have approved a resolution calling for a report into the effectiveness of the company’s workplace sexual harassment policies, as well as greater transparency about the company’s investigations into harassment claims.
The proposal is asking for greater details on investigations into executives, including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, as well as more information into the number of cases the company has investigated, and how they were resolved.
This push comes in light of reports from earlier this year, per The New York Post, that female employees were often “ignored, abused and degraded” and called sexist slurs by their co-workers.
There are also reports that Gates allegedly “pursued” female employees while still married, news that eventually prompted an internal investigation that led to Gates stepping down from his seat on the company’s board.
Microsoft’s board of directors had recommended that shareholders vote down the proposal, which was submitted by Arjuna Capital, an investment firm that, per Geek Wire, describes itself as “a champion of workplace concerns for minorities and women.”
The vote is being seen as a victory for activists.
Microsoft is one of many companies that has sometimes responded clumsily to the #MeToo movement.
It has fired some employees over complaints, but according to a statement from Arjuna Capital, “while Microsoft has conducted prior internal investigations into sexual harassment and gender discrimination allegations, it has failed to report transparently on any independent investigations to employees and investors.”
Arjuna continued on to say that "investors are concerned Microsoft may be facing a culture of systemic sexual harassment, putting at risk the company’s ability to attract and retain talent.”
Microsoft’s board has called the proposal unnecessary, saying it has put in place plan to begin annual public reporting on the company's "implementation of our sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies.”
At a virtual shareholder meeting, Microsoft President Brad Smith said the company received 51 complaints from employees in its recently completed fiscal year, and that 47% were substantiated.
Microsoft shares dropped 1.79% today.