U.S. government scrutinizes Microsoft’s hiring practices as tech giant looks to boost diversity

Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

Microsoft in June announced a sweeping racial justice plan, including an initiative to spend $150 million on diversity and inclusion programs, and double its number of Black and African American managers and senior employees by 2025 in the U.S.

Now the United States Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is taking a closer look at the company’s hiring and whether it constitutes unlawful discrimination on the basis of race.

“We have every confidence that Microsoft’s diversity initiative complies fully with all U.S. employment laws,” Dev Stahlkopf, corporate vice president and general counsel at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post published Tuesday. “We look forward to providing the OFCCP with this information and, if necessary, defending our approach.”

The OFCCP asks Microsoft to “prove that the actions we are taking to improve opportunities are not illegal race-based decisions,” according to the company’s blog post.

We’ve reached out to the OFCCP to learn more about its inquiry and whether other tech companies were contacted. Google, Facebook, and others have made similar commitments in recent months.

The probe comes as President Trump aims to stop federal agencies from conducting anti-racism training. Trump signed an executive order last month on “combating race and sex stereotyping” in the federal workforce. Last week the Trump administration told federal agencies to suspend diversity training programs until they meet the guidelines laid out in the executive order.

Here’s more from Microsoft’s blog post:

“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