Oh, you're wrong about that. The EEOC thinks it very much is Microsoft's job - and any other company's job - to insure that they have employed at LEAST the percentage of blacks that make up the population in that area, no matter what the company has to do to comply. If not, they put themselves at very serious legal risks. It is an outright quota system.
There was a story about this on 60 Minutes a few years ago. There was this guy that ran a little lamp-making company in some industrial part of Chicago, I think. Every single one of his employees was a minority, most of whom lived within walking distance of the factory. The mix was something like 90% Hispanic and 10% black, no whites save for the owner himself. So a black woman applies for a job, and doesn't get it, for a legitimate reason (I forget what the reason was, someone else was just more qualified, I think). She goes to the EEOC and complains. The EEOC decides that, uh-oh, according to the census figures for his neighborhood, he needs to have ELEVEN PERCENT black employees. So he's labelled as a discriminator, and the EEOC forces him to pay a fine of something over a million dollars. His company is so small that the only way he could afford to pay it was to lay off a whole bunch of his employees (who are all either black or hispanic, remember). Even more ironic was that he was one of the only businesses in the neighborhood, and it was pre-dotcom mania, so there wasn't anywhere else these laid-off workers could easily go. The net result is: his company is decimated, a whole bunch of hard-working minorities ended up having to go back on government assistance ... but at least the EEOC got that "damned evil bigot," eh? That's the important thing, right?posted by aaron at 11:45 PM on January 3, 2001
The threadlet I'm participating in is discussing the originally-linked article about the class action suit, not the Browne suit. There's a big difference between one man claiming illegal racist behavior by his immediate peers and supervisors, and an entire group of people alleging a systematic, top-to-bottom culture of institutionalized discrimination that permeates every nook and cranny of the Microsoft behemoth.
And my point was, the Federal Government-imposed racial quota system makes it far too easy for such groups to "prove" such activity merely by tossing around census statistics, rather than showing evidence of actual, intentional discriminatory activity by a company's management.
Now, it could very well be true that such institutionalized racism exists at Microsoft. I've never been inside an MS building (unless you count MSNBC in Secaucus, which isn't really the same thing), so I don't know. But all this article discusses is the allegation, and the usual spin about percentages. We shall see.posted by aaron at 10:55 PM on January 5, 2001
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