Microsoft announced in June that it is planning to increase the number of blacks and African-Americans in leadership positions by 100%. The company stated that the initiative is expected to cost around $150 million over a 5-year period. In 2025, the number of Blacks and African Americans in leadership positions in the company would have increased by 100%.
But this initiative is being investigated by the US Department of Labor, and this was revealed by Dev Stahlkopf, General Counsel and Vice President of Microsoft.
DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) contacted Microsoft over the $150 million initiative with claims that the initiative might affect people of other races who wish to work at Microsoft. The tech giant is mandated to follow the set practices of the OFCCP because it is a federal contractor. The 5-year initiative is being probed to ascertain whether it goes against the stipulations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Microsoft stated that they are quite sure the initiative is legal and in full compliance with Labor and Employment Laws.
“We are very confident that our diversity program does not go against the stipulations of the law in the United States,” Stahlkopf said. “We are prepared to prove to the OFCCP that the initiative is in full compliance with all Labor laws in the United States.”
Microsoft decided to employ more Blacks to leadership positions after the riots caused by the police killing of George Floyd. Microsoft also announced future efforts to ensure that other marginalized groups such as Latinos and Hispanics are properly represented in leadership positions as well.
The Vice President of the tech company announced that the letter received from the U.S. Department of Labour suggests that the diversity program might cause Microsoft to employ people based on their race. The letter, the Vice President stated, has asked Microsoft to prove such a step will not be against the stipulations of labor laws in the United States.
“We have been in the business for decades and we know how to adequately provide opportunities for a particular group without affecting the chances of others,” Stahlkopf explained. “We hire only the best and the diversity program will certainly not change our stance.”
Other companies have stated their intentions to join the fight against inequality on the basis of race after the summer’s widespread riots and debates denouncing racial inequality in different sectors. Google, another tech giant, stated that by 2025 there will be a 30% increase of people from marginalized groups in leadership positions in the company.
President Donald Trump stated early September that he intends to expand the ban on government officials with offensive gender and racial philosophies. Other companies in the United States and other countries around the world have given donations to help the fight against racial inequalities across all sectors.