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US Labor Department looking into Microsoft's diversity drive

US Labor Department looking into Microsoft's diversity drive

The United States' Department of Labor is investigating Microsoft over its commitments to hire more black and African American people.

In a blog post, the company's CVP and general counsel Dev Stahlkopf said that the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) had been in touch regarding the Big M's drive to double the number of black and African American managers and senior members of staff in the next five years.

The Department of Labor has been looking into whether this diversity drive violates the Civil Rights Act, namely the discrimination of staff based on race.

"The letter asked us to prove that the actions we are taking to improve opportunities are not illegal race-based decisions," Stahlkopf wrote.

"Emphatically, they are not.

"We are clear that the law prohibits us from discriminating on the basis of race. We also have affirmative obligations as a company that serves the federal government to continue to increase the diversity of our workforce, and we take those obligations very seriously. We have decades of experience and know full well how to appropriately create opportunities for people without taking away opportunities from others. Furthermore, we know that we need to focus on creating more opportunity, including through specific programs designed to cast a wide net for talent for whom we can provide careers with Microsoft."

This comes in the wake of the Trump administration telling federal agencies to cut funding that has been directed to "un-American" ideas such as critical race theory.

Microsoft's commitment to addressing racial inequality at the company came in June, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests across in the world following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis. The firm's most recent Diversity and Inclusion report – for 2019 – has just 4.4 per cent of Microsoft staff as black or African American.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.