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Microsoft Investors Urge Company to Reassess Sexual-Harassment Policies

Shareholders pass nonbinding resolution after reports of misconduct by co-founder years ago 

Alleged misconduct by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates spurred demands for the company to report on its sexual-harassment investigations. 

Alleged misconduct by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates spurred demands for the company to report on its sexual-harassment investigations. 

Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

Microsoft Corp. shareholders called on the software maker to reassess its approach to sexual harassment in a vote Tuesday, following reports that co-founder Bill Gates behaved inappropriately toward female employees years ago.

At the company’s annual meeting, investors passed a nonbinding resolution seeking a report on the effectiveness of sexual-harassment policies. The proposal, introduced by activist investor Arjuna Capital, was opposed by Microsoft. A separate measure calling on the company to disclose median pay gaps across race and gender didn’t pass.

“We are concerned about Microsoft’s alleged continued culture of workplace sexual harassment and its history of unfulfilled previous commitments to resolve it,” Natasha Lamb, Arjuna’s managing partner, said during the meeting. Lamb said Microsoft has refused to commit to two key requests in the proposal: “independent investigations and public reporting on the executive-level probe into Mr. Gates.”