back to article Microsoft forks out $3m in back pay settlement to make Feds' hiring discrimination probe go away

Microsoft has agreed to fork out $3,000,000 in back pay and interest to resolve an investigation by a US federal agency looking into allegations it unlawfully passed over qualified Asian, African American, and Hispanic applicants who were looking for work. The deal – a so-called "Early Resolution Conciliation Agreement" inked …

  1. Sin2x

    Stupid move on their part since it admits culpability even if there was none. Hiring discrimination claims are essentially unproveable in court.

    1. Robert Grant

      Proof is a bit old-fashioned.

    2. a_yank_lurker

      Depends on what is in the files and this is apparently for federal contract compliance which is not quite the same as your normal hiring discrimination suit.

      1. Sin2x

        I have checked the files. Microsoft allegedly breached Executive Order 11246, which states (most relevant part):


        The contractor will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin. The contractor will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin. Such action shall include, but not be limited to the following: employment, upgrading, demotion, or transfer; recruitment or recruitment advertising; layoff or termination; rates of pay or other forms of compensation; and selection for training, including apprenticeship. The contractor agrees to post in conspicuous places, available to employees and applicants for employment, notices to be provided by the contracting officer setting forth the provisions of this nondiscrimination clause.

        The contractor will, in all solicitations or advancements for employees placed by or on behalf of the contractor, state that all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin.


        And it's simply impossible to prove that a person has been refused the position because of the aforementioned qualities and not because of their lack of merit. MS is just chickenshit to lose the government contract. Wrongly so, because you should never give in to terrorists, lest they will continue terrorizing you for all eternity.

        1. davenewman

          Why is it impossible to prove? There have been plenty of studies where the same c.v. was sent in under a European name and an African-American name and only the one with the European name got invited to an interview.

          And it is not an impossible data analysis task to do a factor analysis of criteria correlated with hiring, including all the qualification and demographic data. The Government can certainly do that.

          1. Sin2x

            Find me an example of such a proven case where a person was found to be discriminated on a basis of their characteristics other than merit, I dare you.

            Correlation does not imply causation and such statistical exercices will not stand in court as well. Companies should continue (erm, return to?..) to hire the best person for the job, not the best person to fill a certain quota. If you disagree, I wish you would get into the hands of an incomptenent doctor when the time for that comes.

            And those people that were not hired by Microsoft were not the best fit, I assure you. If they were competitive on the market, they a) would never work for government, b) would never sue. The little crybabies expected they would be taken unconditionally because of their minority status and they weren't. And good riddance, nobody needs incompetent litigatious whiners on the job.

            1. sabroni Silver badge

              re: Companies should continue (erm, return to?..) to hire the best person for the job

              As long as it's me and my mates.

              God, the thought that something could be unfair is just so upsetting to you, isn't it?

              Yes, I'm sure that's what it is. Thank the lord we have even minded people like you fighting for justice!

              1. Sin2x

                Re: re: Companies should continue (erm, return to?..) to hire the best person for the job

                > As long as it's me and my mates.

                Your presuppositions are flabbergasting, matey. I repeat: the best person for the job should take it, regardless of their inborn variables, and don't you twist my words. Your resistance to the fact that people can be unfit for a technical job tells much of your own aptitude. Or, rather, lack thereof.

    3. DS999 Silver badge

      No it doesn't

      If you read the article the agreement specifically does not admit fault on their part. These types of settlements almost always admit no fault - the company wouldn't agree to it otherwise since it would compromise their future legal position if they are caught doing the same thing again.

      1. Sin2x

        Re: No it doesn't

        It does not admit fault _legally_, not in the public opinion. For every sane person out there what they did is equal to admitting guilt, otherwise they would fight to prove innocence and prevent such extortions in the future.

        1. Robert Grant

          Re: No it doesn't

          For every sane person whose legal philosophy amounts to "no smoke without fire", sure.

    4. jgarbo

      Not a fine, not a bribe, not extortion, simply

      a donation to lawyers suffering under Covid19...

  2. chivo243 Silver badge


    That MS didn't admit it and deflect the blame, and then throw some people under the bus, promising to clean up their act and never do it ever again...

    1. Trollslayer

      Re: Surprising

      Microsoft have always been anti discrimination and this was four specific sites.

      Heads will have cut off over this.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    lazy and incompetent people deserve jobs as well. good that governments force businesses to hire lazy people, they need to eat too.

  4. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Agreement puts a stop to Feds' audit, but isn't an admission of wrongdoing

    First rule of miscreants: never confess.

  5. Trigun

    Wonder if MS actually did this (or at least certain locations)? If they did, then they deserve to have to pay out and all the bad press in the world.

    However, I'm a little concerned that they may have just paid for the issue to go away as they might lose their federal partnership - whether they are guilty or not.

    Guess we'll never know.

  6. RobLang

    I know structural racism when I see. And I'm looking at it right now.

    "The agency recognized that Microsoft had already addressed their concerns and did not require any changes to our hiring practices"

    13.4% US population in 2020 (US Census) is black, MS demographic is 3.5% (MS 2019 diversity report).

    They've already addressed their concerns?

    "In the US, we are seeing incremental but slow progress in African American/Black representation"

    Too slow.

    1. Sin2x

      Re: I know structural racism when I see. And I'm looking at it right now.

      Could it be that black people are undereducated and less achieving (for a variety of reasons)? Yes. Is it Microsoft's problem? No. Government should fix their own shit, not require commercial entities to tolerate mediocrity for political reasons.

  7. Marc 13

    $2300 for not getting hired... for not getting MSFT on your CV, for not getting the boost that will have down the line... cheap deflection.

  8. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    "Agreement puts a stop to the audit, but isn't an admission of wrongdoing"

    Good one!

  9. Cuddles


    "the settlement does not imply wrongdoing"

    Yes it does. It doesn't admit to wrongdoing, but it absolutely does imply it. That's the entire definition of implication - the evidence suggests that something might be, or probably is, the case, but doesn't rise to the appropriate level of proof or admission. The fact that they are willing to pay out compensation and agree to certain conditions very much does imply that they did something wrong and know that the punishment would end up being worse if they continued trying to fight it.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like