Microsoft execs accused of misconduct by dozens of staff

Current and former staffers say three Microsoft executives have verbally abused staff and created a toxic work culture, while complaints have been ignored

Microsoft misconduct scandal: An office building on Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Washington

A group of ‘dozens’ of current and former workers at Microsoft – which is closing on a deal to buy embattled games publisher Activision Blizzard – have accused a group of top-level executives of workplace misconduct, a pattern they say has persisted for years at the tech company. The employees claim these executives verbally abused workers, downplayed the contributions of women, and rarely addressed concerns raised by staff.

Business Insider reports that the employees have alleged that former executive vice president Terry Myerson, HoloLens lead developer Alex Kipman, and Product and Engineering head Tom Keane have each contributed to a hostile work environment at Microsoft, and rarely faced any administrative action when complaints have been filed against them.

We reached out to Microsoft about the allegations, and a company spokesperson tells us they are unaware of any specific reports about the behaviour detailed in the report. “Microsoft is deeply invested in all aspects of our culture and employee experience, which includes ensuring employees have clear opportunities to voice any concerns they have about workplace behaviour,” the spokesperson says.

According to the staffers, Myerson “had a history of verbally abusing employees during his tenure” at Microsoft, and Keane was said to “cut people down to pieces” in front of other employees, as GamesIndustry reports. The staffers claim there had been “dozens of allegations” against Kipman, including an incident in which he was caught watching VR porn during a staff meeting.

The Microsoft spokesperson we spoke with says the company takes employee reports seriously, and has policies in place to assign disciplinary measures when appropriate.

“Microsoft’s leadership team has established a robust process for reporting and investigating every concern, and however employees choose to report them, we ensure they go through that thorough process,” they tell us. “Every reported claim we receive is investigated, and for every claim found substantiated there is clear action taken. This disciplinary action can range from termination, to demotion, loss of pay or bonus, official reprimand, mandatory training, coaching or combination of some of these.

“In addition, while some concerns might be unsubstantiated, the investigation can reveal gaps in a manager’s capacity, and additional oversight or coaching can be required,” the spokesperson says.

Microsoft staffers have also expressed concerns over the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, a company that has come under intense public and government scrutiny over the past several years due to allegations of widespread employee mistreatment.

“We can’t even take care of our own house,” one staffer said to Business Insider. “And now we just bought one in worse condition.”