back to article Satya 'Karma' Nadella ignored our complaints over pay gap, thousands of Microsoft women say

More than 8,000 female Microsoft employees have appealed a decision not to grant them a collective legal right to sue the software giant for pay discrimination, claiming that top management knew it was a problem but failed to fix it. According to expert testimony put forward by the women, and unchallenged by Microsoft, there …

  1. ratfox

    all the evaluations were done through the Calibration system which everyone agrees provides so much discretion to individual managers that the Dukes precedent applies

    If the result of the policy of leaving everything to the discretion of individual managers is that there is a large pay gap across the company, I would say that there is a strong argument that the company should not have that policy, and that it is responsible for the result.

    That said, is this 6% pay gap a job-for-job comparison, or the gap between the average pay of men and women at Microsoft no matter what their job is? If it's the first, it's way too much; if it's the second, it's surprisingly low for the industry...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > it is responsible for the result.

      Personally, I would be of the opinion that it more likely the consequence of the choices made by individuals, with women being more inclined to hold low pressure roles which pay less money.

      There is very likely 0% pay gap between people doing the same work with the same output in terms of productivity.

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Women actually seem to tolerate long-term stress more than men. I would say that women value time with their family (especially children) more than men do.

        This theory that such different creatures should be indistinguishable in the market is pure communist b-------.

        1. allthegoodnamesweretaken

          My job is very high pressure. Men love their families just as much as women. The only market consideration should be performance.

        2. Gordon 10

          @claptrap. Not that I'm convinced by your BS in any way shape or form but you've just successfully argued that Women should be paid MORE.

          Have a bag of fail on all points sir.

    2. Helcat

      Well, the story suggests it's like for like. However, fact checked v anecdotal isn't clear here.

      What I get from this is more that, as the gap is across the company, but the discretion is at management level, and knowing MS has offices dotted around the place, I would wonder if part of this is different managers applying different bias? One might be trying to keep costs down, another trying to encourage their staff to work harder by making them feel appreciated and a third might be applying personal bias against some members of staff: In all, it's not clear at all as you'd need to understand the internal workings of MS's management and pay systems.

      So no, not class action (as I understand the term) as the problem may be with individual managers and how they use the same system.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Comparison is very different

    A comparison is extremely difficult and to be meaningful has to take into account not just the job descriptions but also every other factor that may influenc epay, location, experience, hours worked, service history, speicality/application area etc. SImpsons paradox means that unless account is taken of all the factors affecting pay the combined results may be completely misleading. Quite a few factors are known which would tend to have this effect.

    Men are mor elikely to tak eon technical roles than women, women on average work significanlty less hours than men, women are mor elikely to have a significant career break, women typically take on less stressful specialities or ones which have more family friendly hours or policies.

    A 6% difference is quite a small pay gap and much smaller than the magnitude of differences from quite legitimate ddifferences mentioned above. Whether an analysis can disentagle this enough to convincingly demonstrate discrimination I am sceptical. Frequently when careful analysis is done it is discovered that lower paid male workers have been discriminated against.This happened at google and the BBC as a result of complaints by women where the result of pay equity studies was that the majority of teh undepraid staff that were identified were male.

    1. TheProf

      Re: Comparison is very different

      "the BBC as a result of complaints by women where the result of pay equity studies was that the majority of teh undepraid staff that were identified were male."

      I didn't read that anywhere. Could you post a link to your source? Ta.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Comparison is very different

        There you go:

    2. NATTtrash

      Re: Comparison is very different

      @AC Men are mor elikely to tak eon technical roles...

      So how is that Apple keyboard working out for you? ☺

      I'm probably biased in this discussion, but I don't see the difficulty in approaching this standardised and objectively. It is more about personal issues, advantages, and self image than anything else. So I would advocate to eliminate that. But what I also recognise reading about this, is that some parties are trying to obfuscate this to enhance their own advantages. Which is understandable, because it's very human...

      Why not look at it like this: If I go to Tesco, I don't pay a different price for a bottle of milk, just because I'm white, black, wear a hat, pants, skirt, or kilt. Simply put, all a labourer can do is sell his/ her time and expertise. Somebody who hires a labourer should know/ knows what the standard price tag is connected to that service to be purchased (yes, I do recognise the pressure point here, but please humour me). If the expertise doesn't match the services needed, the hire is incorrect, the match imperfect, a failure of the (person) hiring. Same thing applies if the person hired doesn't deliver what was asked, and should be discontinued. But...

      If all goes according the expectations of both parties, there is no reason why the person wearing a hat should be paid less. But we all recognise what this is about of course: it is a discussion about "me more than others", "transparency no thanks", maybe even the ever present "race to the bottom", and, as Kieren pointed out, the potential hit to the MS bottom line of "over $100 million". And maybe as a sober diagnosis: if that last point becomes too bothersome, we can repeat the same discussion, then arguing why the job of that US person should not be done by a person in India...

  3. sbt

    Karma don't pay the rent

    I can't believe someone actually made an appeal to some abstract notion of universal justice in the 21st century.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

      Re: Karma don't pay the rent

      "Trust the system" to give you the pay you deserve?

      The same system that has resulted in your being paid (as a group) 6% less?

      Good for Satya and Microsoft, not so good for women who work there.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    In short, she argued that Microsoft knew that there a big and persistent problem with women being paid less than men for the same job – even when the women were found to have out-performed their male colleagues – but didn’t take steps to figure out why and fix it.

    I guess Microsoft isn't such an evil, capitalist organization after all. Otherwise, they would only employ women to save the 6%.

    As Milton Friedman used to say, I am thrilled that such sexist pigs pay the price for their prejudice and women should be glad that they have a tool to compete with. Yes, equal pay for equal work, but who doesn't love seeing "the man" pay for their stupidity?

  5. JoMe

    Bunch of bollocks

    You earn what your skill level, both at the job AND negotiation, gets you. If you don't negotiate for a better salary, you don't get it; simple as that.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Bunch of bollocks

      I found out about six months ago that I was being paid 25% less per hour than another far less skilled and experienced contractor. Does this mean I can sue (I live in California, BTW?) We're both males but I'm older than him so I could maybe cite age discrimination?

      (Or does it mean that a) I need better negotiating skills or b) I wasn't that bothered about the pay rates for the relatively small number of hours worked.)

      HR departments in California are very conscious of things like discrimination and harassment because it can get expensive. Any statistical gender pay gap is probably due to age skewing due to longer serving employees tending to be male because (believe it or not) it was only relatively recently that women applied to work in any kind of technology (and they're still greatly under represented, especially in the less appealing 'sharp end' jobs).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If you don't negotiate for a better salary, you don't get it"

      That means usually only that whiners and cunning people will be paid more than people working better than them but not used to exploit others at every turn.

      I've seen people whining for a raise/promotion, getting it and then leave the company soon after - they just used it to increase their new salary/position.

      Those are not the people a company should reward - a hierarchical system is there exactly to assess people and choose the best one for the job, not salespeople.

  6. Bite my finger

    "In short, she argued that Microsoft knew that there a big and persistent problem with women being paid less than men for the same job – even when the women were found to have out-performed their male colleagues – but didn’t take steps to figure out why and fix it."

    If what she alleges actually exists, then it's an open and shut case since there are clear laws against that. But instead we are told about the outcomes instead, which could have many other reasons for existing.

    This is the same outcome-based thinking that says the fact that blacks in the US have a higher incarceration rate than whites "proves" the legal system is racist and rigged.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The end result of this approach is that “a woman can perform better but can’t be paid as much as a man in a different band.”

    I can't believe how sloppy this is. There's nothing about men and women in this logic. Anyone in a lower band will get paid less than someone in a different band, regardless of performance. This is not hard.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If women are disproportionately put in the lower bands, and men in the upper band, regardless of performance, maybe there's a bias?

      Actually this band system looks designed to avoid too many people are paid the higher level to meet budget constraints. So once you've been put in the lower band you can't achieve higher pays until you get move the the upper band.

      Been there, seen that. A company where production area targets were more difficult to achieve and result were usually moved downwards the scale. While other areas, like HR, always reached all (easy) targets perfectly - even when they just had to perform nothing more than their usual job.

  8. NanoMeter

    He's facing his Karma

    Karma is about to hit him in the face

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: He's facing his Karma

      Preferably in a tag team with her sister Kismet ;)

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