Press Release

Press Release: Microsoft Sued in Class Action Alleging Sex Discrimination

National Class Action Lawsuit in Federal Court Charges Violations of Federal and Local Civil Rights Laws

Seattle, Washington (September 16, 2015) – Attorneys Adam T. Klein of Outten & Golden LLP and Kelly M. Dermody of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, announce that a lawsuit filed today in federal court in Washington alleges that Microsoft has engaged in systemic and pervasive discrimination against its female professional employees.

The lawsuit, Moussouris v. Microsoft Corp., Case No. 15-cv-01483 (W.D. Wash.), filed by Katie Moussouris, accuses Microsoft of engaging in a pattern and practice of gender discrimination against its female technical professionals. Microsoft, a global provider of software and software-related services, is a major employer, with a headcount of over 117,000 employees in 2015, many of whom are technical employees. In 2014, Microsoft generated $93.6 billion dollars in net revenue and $12.2 billion dollars in net income.

The plaintiff alleges violations of federal and state laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Washington Law Against Discrimination. The plaintiff class is represented by Outten & Golden LLP and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP.

According to the complaint, “[a]s a result of Microsoft’s policies, patterns, and practices, female technical employees receive less compensation and are promoted less frequently than their male counterparts. Microsoft company-wide policies and practices systematically violate female technical employees’ rights and result in the unchecked gender bias that pervades its corporate culture.” Plaintiff Katie Moussouris said, “What happened to me is not unique. This case will illuminate the broad patterns of decision-making against women. Fundamentally, this is about fairness and equality.”

“The gender-equality issues raised by this lawsuit are all too familiar — Microsoft systematically undervalues the efforts and achievements of its female technical employees. This is an important step in our efforts to lift the glass ceiling for women working in what once were traditionally male-dominated professions,” said plaintiff’s attorney Adam T. Klein of Outten & Golden LLP of New York, New York.

“This case challenges Microsoft’s practice of devaluing its talented female professionals,” said plaintiff’s attorney Kelly M. Dermody of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP of San Francisco, California. “By coming forward, the plaintiff seeks to ensure a level playing field at one of the most important players in the technology sector.”

The complaint charges that, among other things, Microsoft compensates its female technical professionals less than similar men, disproportionately promotes men over equally or more qualified women, and evaluates female technical professionals less favorably compared to male peers.

Attorneys Adam T. Klein, Cara E. Greene, and Ossai Miazad of Outten & Golden LLP and Kelly M. Dermody, Anne Shaver, and Sharon Lee of Lieff Cabraser Heimann and Bernstein LLP represent the plaintiffs. The case is Moussouris v. Microsoft Corp., Case No. 15-cv-01483 (W.D. Wash.).

People interested in the lawsuit may provide information by visiting microsoftgendercase.com or by calling 1-800-254-3079 to leave a message for plaintiffs’ counsel. Members of the media can also obtain a copy of the complaint and this press release at microsoftgendercase.com.

Press Contacts

Adam Klein
Outten & Golden
Tel.: 212-245-1000

Kelly Dermody
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
Tel.: 415-956-1000

About the Plaintiff

Katie Moussouris worked for Microsoft in its Trustworthy Computing Group in Redmond, Washington, for over seven years. She left Microsoft in 2014 and is now the Chief Policy Officer for HackerOne, a platform provider for coordinated vulnerability response and structured bounty programs. She is a noted authority on internet security and promotes education and security research to help make the internet safer for everyone. Katie’s earlier Microsoft work encompassed industry-leading initiatives such as Microsoft’s bounty programs and Microsoft Vulnerability Research. She is also a subject matter expert for the US National Body of the International Standards Organization (ISO) in several areas. Katie is a visiting scholar with MIT’s Sloan School, doing research on the vulnerability economy. She is a New America Foundation Fellow.

About the Law Firms

Plaintiff is represented by two law firms: the plaintiffs’ employment firm Outten & Golden LLP and the national class action firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP. These firms also represented female professionals in the Amochaev v. Smith Barney gender discrimination case, which resulted in a $33 million settlement, as well as in the on-going gender discrimination class action against Goldman Sachs, Chen-Oster v. Goldman Sachs.

Outten & Golden LLP is a 50 attorney firm with offices in New York, San Francisco and Chicago. O&G represents plaintiffs in a wide variety of employment law matters, including national class and impact statutory discrimination cases, major class-based wage and hour violations, and contract negotiations. O&G represented plaintiff-intervenor Allison Schieffelin in a pattern or practice sex discrimination suit prosecuted with the EEOC against Morgan Stanley that resulted in a $54 million settlement and substantial injunctive relief. It is also lead counsel in Houser, et al., v. Pritzker, Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce, a class action lawsuit on behalf of hundreds of thousands of African-American and Latino job seekers, certified by a New York federal court, alleging that the Census Bureau’s criminal background check had a disparate impact on African-American and Latino applicants for jobs related to the 2010 census. It has handled discrimination claims against numerous Fortune 500 firms. More information on the firm can be found at outtengolden.com.

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, is a 60 attorney firm with offices in San Francisco, Seattle, New York, and Nashville. Lieff Cabraser has represented plaintiffs in a wide variety of class action litigation, including employment discrimination and civil rights, wage suppression, and pension benefits litigation. It has represented many plaintiffs in litigation against technology companies, including serving as class counsel in the Silicon Valley no-poaching case, In re High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, which resulted in settlements totaling $435 million. More information on the firm can be found at lieffcabraser.com.