Labor Department Is Investigating Microsoft Over Recruitment Focus On Black Executives And Employees

Written by Ann Brown
Labor Department Is Investigating Microsoft Over Recruitment Focus On Black Executives And Employees Photo: bfishadowFollow/ Microsoft, fickr

Microsoft is being investigated by the U.S. Labor Department over a policy that aims to increase the number of Black leaders in its ranks and whether increasing Black employee representation constitutes racial discrimination against non-Blacks.

After receiving a letter from the agency about the investigation, the software maker said in a blog post that it believes it is complying with all applicable laws. “We have every confidence that Microsoft’s diversity initiative complies fully with all U.S. employment laws,” Microsoft general counsel Dev Stahlkopf said in the blog post. “We look forward to providing the (Labor Department) with this information and, if necessary, defending our approach.”

“The letter asked us to prove that the actions we are taking to improve opportunities are not illegal race-based decisions,” said Stahlkopf. “Emphatically, they are not.”

This news is important because it comes as the Trump administration is trying to use an executive order to block government contractors from offering certain types of diversity training, Axios reported.

Trump’s executive order said the White House would “combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating” in the federal workforce and among federal contractors. Microsoft is a major federal contractor, supplying Office workplace software and cloud computing services to multiple government agencies, Market Watch reported.

The timing of the investigation didn’t go unnoticed on Twitter.

“lol white nationalists seeing the executive branch slipping away and trying to cram all the precedent in that they can” I SAID SLAG OFF!! tweeted @BonsaiBonzai.

“I wonder if the Labor department noticed the racial demographics at Microsoft. White 53.2% Asian 33.1% Hispanic 6.3% Black 4.5% Multiracial employees 2.1% Native American & Alaskan Natives 0.5% Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islanders 0.2%” Bagel technician & Seat filler @SirPennypacker tweeted.

“The Trump Organisation was sued twice by the US govt in the 1980s for rejecting Black tenantsNow the Trump administration is accusing Microsoft of ‘racism’ for trying to increase the abysmally low number of black staff in the companyWhat did they say about leopards and spots?” Paul C Nwabuikwu tweeted.

Microsoft said it was contacted by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs regarding the company’s June commitment to increase Black representation in its workforce, including by seeking to double the number of Black people Microsoft employs in leadership positions by 2025.

Civil rights groups have been asking tech companies to increase Black representation. Many companies including Microsoft vowed to do so after the police killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests.

CEO Satya Nadella made Microsoft’s June hiring commitment in response to Black Lives Matter protests as part of a broader message to employees about racial injustice and promoting a culture of inclusivity at the company, Market Watch reported.

According to the Labor Department, this move could violate the Civil Rights Act, Stahlkopf wrote.

A Labor Department spokesperson told Axios that the agency “appreciates Microsoft’s assurance on its website that it is not engaging in racial preferences or quotas in seeking to reach its affirmative action and outreach goals,” adding that it “looks forward to working with Microsoft to complete its inquiry.”

The Labor Department has given Microsoft until Oct. 29 to explain how it plans to carry out its pledge regarding Black leadership.

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 73: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin makes the case for why this is a multi-factor rebellion vs. just protests about George Floyd. He discusses the Democratic Party’s sneaky relationship with the police in cities and states under Dem control, and why Joe Biden is a cop and the Steve Jobs of mass incarceration.

Wells Fargo is also under a Labor Department inquiry for much the same reason after pledging to double its ranks of Black leaders.

“Earlier this year, the bank rolled out a series of goals including a five-year target for doubling its roster of Black leaders, who accounted for 6 percent of senior management at the time,” Bloomberg reported.

“Wells Fargo is committed to and taking action to become a more diverse and inclusive company,” the bank said in a statement. “Numerous efforts are underway to implement changes at all levels of the company, and we are confident that they comply with U.S. employment laws.”