Microsoft Employees Sue for Racial Bias

January 5, 2001

A $5-billion lawsuit, filed Jan. 3 in U.S. District Court in Washington, is the latest headache for Microsoft Corp. Seven current and former Microsoft employees are accusing the software giant of racial bias, including discrimination in evaluations, compensation, promotions, wrongful termination and retaliation.

The plaintiffs, four of which are based in Washington, D.C. and three in Washington state, are seeking $5 billion, the largest amount ever sought in a class-action suit, according to the Washington Post. They are also seeking class action status.

Willie E. Gary, a Florida lawyer who has successfully taken on Coca-Cola Co. and Walt Disney Co., will be representing the plaintiffs. One of the plaintiffs, Rahn Jackson, is a former account executive at Microsoft who previously filed a discrimination lawsuit that was then amended to include six other African-American employees. Hundreds more could join if the suit achieves class-action status.

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who presided over the federal government’s antitrust case against Microsoft and ordered the company split into two, will hear the lawsuit.

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