Trump Administration Investigates: Has Microsoft Recruited Race-Based Employees

After Microsoft announced its intention to pursue a policy of affirmative action that would lead to an increase in the number of African-American employees in the company, the US Department of Labor announced that it intends to examine whether the policy violates equal employment opportunities.

The U.S. Department of Labor has launched an investigation against Microsoft to determine whether its affirmative action policy, designed to increase the ethnic diversity of its employees, violates equal employment policies. According to a post by Microsoft itself in its blog last night (Tuesday) its legal counsel, Dov Stahlkopf, denied the firm’s accusations and explained that by all parameters “Microsoft’s diversity initiative meets all US employment rules.” According to the Axios website, “this is a discriminatory policy in itself, which implies that recruitment operations are based on race.”

The Trump administration has been trying for years to act against affirmative action policies and the president himself has signed a presidential decree restricting it in various government ministries. The White House is also interested in extending the order to government contractors, such as Microsoft.

Microsoft intended to allocate about $ 150 million to increase the number of black and Asian employees in its ranks. But this investment was seen by the Ministry of Labor as a form of discrimination. Given that et does quite a bit of business with the US administration, it is very important  o have a good relationship. The big deals include the supply of office software, Windows and of course the huge cloud deal of the Pentagon which it recently won and which provoked quite a bit of opposition from Amazon, Oracle and IBM.

Last June, Microsoft pledged to increase its workforce and at least double the number of black workers by 2025. On the other hand, that commitment is exactly what has propelled the firm. It is important to also pay attention to the timing of the move. While Microsoft does not have one political agenda or another – the Trump administration has. The November election as well as the need to show his conservative (and mostly white) voters apparently led the administration to declare war on anything that represents a liberal-democratic agenda. And there is no more such agenda than affirmative action, especially in light of last year’s Black Lives Matter protests.

Admittedly, the diversity in the high-tech industry is relatively low, and although today quite a few CEOs of Indian descent are at the forefront of technology giants such as Google, Microsoft itself and IBM, women and other ethnic minorities or dark-skinned in senior positions are still a rare sight in Silicon Valley. Conversely, actions such as that of Microsoft can certainly promote similar programs in other companies and their neutering by a regulator may turn the wheel back.