Microsoft says the Department of Labor has asked it to prove its goal to double Black leaders within the company doesn't violate US employment laws against discrimination

Microsoft says the Department of Labor has asked it to prove its goal to double Black leaders within the company doesn't violate US employment laws against discrimination
Microsoft CEO Satya NadellaREUTERS
  • Microsoft in June said it plans to double the number of Black and African American leaders within the company by 2025.
  • The company disclosed on Tuesday that it received a letter from the Department of Labor stating that the goal "appears to imply employment action may be taken on the basis of race," which would violate employment protections stipulated in the Civil Rights Act.
  • "We have every confidence that Microsoft's diversity initiative complies fully with all US employment laws," Microsoft said in the blog post announcing the letter.
  • Are you a Microsoft employee? Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-425-344-8242) or email (astewart@businessinsider.com).

Microsoft on Tuesday said it was contacted last week by the Department of Labor about whether its plan to double the number of Black managers, senior leaders, and individual employees in the US by 2025 violates employment laws against discrimination laid out in the Civil Rights Act.

Microsoft said the agency's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs sent the company a letter last week stating the goals appear to "imply that employment action may be taken on the basis of race" and asked Microsoft to prove otherwise.

"We have every confidence that Microsoft's diversity initiative complies fully with all US employment laws," Microsoft said in the blog post announcing the letter.
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Microsoft in June said it plans to increase the number of Black and African-American leaders within the company by devoting an additional $150 million to diversity and inclusion efforts.

Microsoft also said it would double the number of Black- and African-American-owned suppliers the company works with over the next three years, and plans to spend $500 million with those suppliers.

The company in its November diversity report said 2.7% of its executives and 4.5% of its employees are Black/African-American. The company declined to comment on how many Black and African-American leaders it employed or suppliers it worked with as of June when it announced the plans.
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