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12 Jun 2018

Matt Day, The Seattle Times (USA)

USA: Judge to decide on whether more than 8,600 women can join gender discrimination lawsuit against Microsoft

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"Judge in Microsoft gender discrimination case has tough questions for women’s lawyers", 11 June 2018

Lawyers for a group of women suing Microsoft for gender discrimination faced tough questions from a federal judge in Seattle on Monday about whether their clients — and the thousands of women they seek to represent in court — had enough in common to justify a class-action case...Monday’s hearing...came 999 days after Katherine Moussouris, a cybersecurity engineer, first sued the company in September 2015, alleging that she had been passed up for raises and promotions in favor of less qualified men.  She was subsequently joined by two other women, and at issue during the hearing on Monday was their motion to include in the suit some 8,600 women who worked in technology jobs at the company in the U.S. since 2012.  U.S. District Judge James Robart asked probing questions concerning what caused the alleged discrimination, and whether there were strong enough ties between women there to meet the standards for a jointly argued case.  Kelly Dermody, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said Microsoft managers were given little guidance on how to apportion pay and promotions, allowing discriminatory behavior to slip in...The judge didn’t rule on the matter on Monday, and didn’t specify when he would.  Many companies have used the precedent from the Walmart case to fend off class-action lawsuits, and Lynne Hermle, an attorney at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe representing Microsoft, did the same Monday, repeatedly citing the case’s standard and saying plaintiffs failed to show Microsoft policies had caused unfair treatment.

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