MICROSOFT CORPORATION | Implementation of Public Commitment

AGM date
Proposal number
8
Resolution details
Company ticker
MSFT
Resolution ask
Report on or disclose
ESG theme
  • Social
ESG sub-theme
  • Diversity & human capital management
  • Human rights & inequality
  • Social
Company sector
Technology
Company HQ country
United States
Supporting materials
Resolved clause
RESOLVED: Shareholders request that the Board of Directors prepare a report on how implementation of Microsoft's commitment to the Fair Chance Business Pledge ("the Pledge") has advanced progress toward eliminating racial discrimination at Microsoft. The report, prepared at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information and published publicly within one year, should evaluate the risk of racial discrimination that may result from the use of criminal background checks in hiring and employment decisions.
Whereas clause
WHEREAS:

In the U.S., Black and Latinx people are disproportionately affected by the mass incarceration system and barriers to employment that exist after release from prison;

Approximately 70 million Americans have criminal records that impede their pursuit of employment after release. The U.S.’s so-called War on Drugs that began “as a racially motivated crusade to criminalize Blacks and the anti-war left” resulted in a system where 40% of incarcerated people are Black despite only making up 13% of the general U.S. population;

Many jobseekers with prior criminal convictions could excel in our Company and research indicates that formerly incarcerated employees are loyal and hardworking. However, these applicants could be excluded by pre-employment background checks. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission identified criminal record exclusions as one of the employment barriers linked to race discrimination in the workplace;

Inappropriate use of background checks exposes our company to legal liability, while excluding qualified individuals because of past criminal convictions otherwise unrelated to job qualifications could harm the Company’s competitive advantage;

In 2016, Microsoft (“the Company”) signed the White House’s Fair Chance Business Pledge, a “call-to-action for all members of the private sector to improve their communities by eliminating barriers for those with a criminal record and creating a pathway for a second chance.” The Company is also a member of the Second Chance Business Coalition, reinforcing its commitment to this issue;

Examining the relevance and timing of pre-employment criminal background checks would allow the Company to fulfill its commitments to criminal justice reform, including the Fair Chance Business Pledge, and boost and protect the Company’s brand value and reputation on diversity issues.
Supporting statement
SUPPORTING STATEMENT: The Board is encouraged, in its discretion, to provide metrics used by the Company to assess its progress in implementing the Pledge, such as the following:

1. Number of formerly incarcerated jobseekers that gained employment since the Company signed the Pledge, compared to similar data prior to signing this pledge;
2. Racial and ethnic demographics on formerly incarcerated jobseekers that were and were not offered employment;
3. Whether and how criminal backgrounds were considered in the evaluation of unsuccessful applicants;
4. If and how hiring processes were modified, halted, or added in implementation of the Pledge;
5. Whether any technology in the hiring process limit hiring formerly incarcerated applicants such as automated algorithms that eliminate job applications with complicated histories or résumé gaps;
6. Effectiveness of partnerships, if any, with nonprofit job-training organizations focused on people with criminal records.