Microsoft Says U.S. Government Questions Its Pledge to Hire More Black Employees

Microsoft Corp.

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said it was contacted last week by the federal government to see whether its pledge to hire more Black employees constitutes unlawful discrimination by a government contractor.

The software company said the agency overseeing federal contractors is questioning whether its initiative to double the number of Black managers and leaders in its U.S. workforce by 2025 violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

“We have every confidence that Microsoft’s diversity initiative complies fully with all U.S. employment laws,” Microsoft general counsel Dev Stahlkopf said in a blog post.

Black employees represent about 4.5% of Microsoft’s U.S. workforce and less than 3% of senior roles, according to the company’s 2019 diversity report. That compares with about 13% of the U.S. population.

Microsoft made the pledge to improve its diversity ranks in June, as well as a commitment to invest an additional $150 million over five years

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