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Drunkeness and Sexual Harassment Alleged At Microsoft UK 159

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the vps-just-wanna-have-fun-man dept.
rtfa-troll writes "A picture of vodka fountains, indefinite amounts of Jaegermeister, and sexual harassment is emerging from Microsoft. The former second in command at Microsoft UK was accused of sexual misconduct involving at least five separate women. A Microsoft internal investigation was unable to prove the allegations but decided to fire Simon Negus for having 'behaved dishonestly, and thereby acted in a manner calculated or likely to destroy trust and confidence between him and Microsoft' and sue him £75k. Now Negus, who already has a new job as COO at Upstream Systems has struck back with a £10 million false dismissal suit alleging a culture of drunken parties and claiming that other (Male) management at Microsoft were so drunk they followed a female Microsoft UK manager into the ladies' lavatories. I guess we can now guess why senior managers go away to Microsoft vowing never to buy anything and come back with signed contracts; presumably it was just lying there next to them in the morning and they were too afraid to ask what happened."
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Drunkeness and Sexual Harassment Alleged At Microsoft UK

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  • This happens at every company.....until someone reports it.
    • by jhoegl (638955)
      This is true. I worked for a company that did a lot of partying. It was fun times when we went out, a lot of dating, etc.

      This wasnt the craziest part, the sexism was prevalent, including pay differences.
      So I left.
      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        I remember when some companies I worked at...had food and parties for us on campus...with free drinks. Man, that was fun...

        Unfortunately, everywhere is so "PC" these days, and afraid of any kind of problems from sue happy people.

        Kinda sux that some people looking to make a buck out of suing ruin it for us all.

        Hell, the open bar Xmas party now is becoming a thing of the past....in some ways, the old days WERE better...at least more fun.

        • One thing that consistently seems to happen at startups is that once they have more than a dozen or so people, there's a Friday afternoon beer party, and when the company gets up to 100-200 people they hire a professional HR department, whose first move is to kill the beer party.

          But also, this is the UK Microsoft, and apparently it's more socially acceptable to get ripping drunk in the UK than it is in the US.

        • You can still have social functions, they just have to be stupid, like everyone riding go-karts or playing laser tag in the hopes that this will make our product better.

          • by mattack2 (1165421)

            Go-karts & laser tag aren't fun?

            We even did bocce ball, which I thought was going to be boring, but was fun.

        • by jhoegl (638955)
          No bro... we had open bar christmas parties. In fact every event was open bar. We stocked alcohol at work!
          • by cayenne8 (626475)
            Just saying in my experience in the US, alcohol parties are getting in general, fewer and rarer..sadly
    • by azalin (67640)
      At least ERGO had the courtesy to supply hookers in addition to the booze.
    • by capnkr (1153623)
      Well, MS UK could hire Douglas Reynholm [wikipedia.org] to replace Negus...
    • by 1s44c (552956)

      This happens at every company.....until someone reports it.

      I'm a pretty big Microsoft hater but I have to say I totally agree with you.

      People with any kind of power will abuse it and men often abuse their position to get female attention. The women who flirt with the boss get good reviews, the women that sleep with the boss get big pay raises, the ones that have their kids get jobs for life on pay they could not otherwise justify. It happens everywhere just like fiddling expenses and booking extra flights to collect air miles. It's not seen as wrong until someone s

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Speaking of "reporting", anyone find it odd that a search for Simon Negus on MSNBC [msnbc.com] returns no results? The Bing [bing.com] page shows mostly non-scandal related links (only two "negative" articles on the first two pages). Filtering results maybe?

      Mij
      • by vux984 (928602)

        The bing results are very similiar to the google results. The only difference is the bloomberg article which is link 1 on google is link 12 on bing.

        I think we're just seeing a difference in the ranking algorithms... google is pushing "news" harder than the facebook, linked in, etc stuff.

        As for not finding it on msnbc... its not on CNN either, or Fox News, or CBS News... so I don't read much into that at all either.

    • Re:Meh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @11:38AM (#37275586) Journal

      Why doesn't this ever happen at companies I work at? The places I've worked suck the sex drive out, along with motivation, sense of self-preservation and sometimes even the desire to breathe.

      • Bad summary (Score:5, Informative)

        by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @12:02PM (#37275822) Journal

        Well, actually the first article says that it was an annual sales conference, and generally you'd notice everyone even mentioned is a manager or HR consultant or such. E.g., the woman he asked to flutter her eyelashes is apparently a HR consultant, at a quick googling.

        What? Did you think they had parties with unlimited vodka and JÃgermeister for the peons?

        So unless you were some sales manager or such, yeah, probably you wouldn't see that happening at any company you worked for, or even at MS. They're not going to do that for the likes of YOU, of course.

        • by houghi (78078)

          I have been to company parties where there was almost unlimited amounts of alcohol available. Paid by the company and.or by partners.

          I am talking renting a disco and asking all to come (about 500 people). 3 day holiday for all with partner. Yes, this included all the peons.

          Many 'short term relations' were happening during those times.

          At all companies I have been there were always smaller or larger events where there was almost unlimited amounts of alcohol available for free. The managers almost always went

          • by st0nes (1120305)
            I worked for a company that did this. The tea lady got so rat-arsed she fell off the boat in the middle of the booze cruise.
        • What? Did you think they had parties with unlimited vodka and JÃfgermeister for the peons?

          I'm a developer but a bit more outgoing than your average bunch of devs. And it's my experience that there is a large part of this group that doesn't even want to go to a party with girls, even if you tell them it's all paid for.

      • Why doesn't this ever happen at companies I work at?

        To hazard a guess, everyone where you work is probably not that attractive.

      • Why doesn't this ever happen at companies I work at?

        Everyone was too busy making stuff?

      • Because no one wants to get hit with a lawsuit by women in a legal system where a woman can destroy a man's life with just a simple accusation.
    • When one programmer panda touches another programmer panda in a private place without permission, that makes me a saaaad panda :-(

  • sounds annoying (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Thursday September 01, 2011 @11:03AM (#37275214)

    Unless it's a small startup formed with people you're friends with, there's not much worse than a corporate culture of socially coerced "fun". Let's party with the boss!

    • Re:sounds annoying (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PPH (736903) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @11:15AM (#37275342)

      Its either "party with the boss" or you're the one who has to stay sober and get the work done.

      So the boss' idiot son-in-law can take credit for it.

      • by brainboyz (114458)

        I was that guy once. Worked many 30+ hour overnights to correct problems created by the adopted idiot son and the son's best friend, lead coder and project manager with no experience, respectively.

        I was fired 9 months in for not getting enough done.

        • by Amouth (879122)

          i wouldn't have waited to get fired - i would have found another job and quit

    • by Xest (935314)

      It's not just internal. When I went on a trip to Reading in a previous job where they were showing off new server technologies they had hired good time girls there too to basically act as eye candy for all the people they were trying to tie in to a future with Microsoft tech.

      But let's also be honest, Microsoft is far from unique here, it's not fair to single them out over it, really, it's a problem with corporate sales and marketing culture across many industries.

      • Microsoft and Intel have thrown some legendary parties at Supercomputing. In 2006, they rented an entire Mall in Tampa. Free food and drink (Pretty much anything you wanted, They wouldn't hand out 20 year old scotch I'm sure, but I specifically remember having a Bombay Sapphire martini), live music, probably more than a thousand people. It was an amazing time, but I'm told that it paled in comparison to some previous years. There's no doubt Redmond knows how to throw a party.

  • by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @11:05AM (#37275230)

    Now Negus, who already as a new job as COO at Upstream Systems

    If you get high enough up in a company, you can do whatever you want, get in whatever trouble you want, and some smaller company will always hire you.
    Another recent(ish?) example I can think of is Mark Hurd from HP, Oracle immediately gave him a job.

    • That's even true for politicians.

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      If you get high enough up in a company, you can do whatever you want, get in whatever trouble you want, and some smaller company will always hire you.
      Another recent(ish?) example I can think of is Mark Hurd from HP, Oracle immediately gave him a job.

      The old boys club. It's killing industry worldwide.

    • Hurd's misdemeanours seem to have been very minor. Outsiders might speculate that he trod on toes and was forced out. His successor has managed to wipe billions off the share price and royally piss off the distributors way ahead of any spin off, which might be seen as very much worse.

      Now Oracle has acquired a man who knows HP and probably would like nothing better than to move into the president's office after the cheap Oracle takeover and start firing some people. It is a terrible way to run business, but

      • I wish it was that clear.

        For a start, Hurd wiped out almost all R&D. Which is pretty much guaranteed to boost stock in the short run by reducing costs. It also usually signals the spiral into death or becoming an irrelevant a me-too OEM for a tech company.

        He also managed to drag the morale into the fucking ground, pretty much. And managed come across as a huge hypocrite by posing as cutting even his own salary in his quest to slash everyone else's... but have his compensation raised by the exact same am

  • well damn (Score:5, Funny)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Thursday September 01, 2011 @11:06AM (#37275236) Homepage Journal

    now I want to work at MS.

    • by Xacid (560407)

      Beats the hell out of the ping pong tables at google. At least MS knows to use them for beer pong.

    • It's exactly this response that worried me when I posted. But then I thought that they might get some decent people out of this, but the average will be a bunch of drunks and will pull the company down more than enough.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Pictures or it didn't happen.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      yea ME that wasn't a decade ago and is still funny! I wanna know where the xkcd is for MSDOS 4 that would be a fucking barrel roll

  • Microsoft has deprecated sex. We're supposed to use the master bait now instead.
  • ...why MSFT is always in the top three of the "top employers" rankings. And it looks like they only ask men in these surveys.
  • No mention of him having his hand removed and replaced with a robotic one?

  • I'm not aware of many IT employees that turn down free alcohol. I can count one part-time guy in my entire career of the top of my head, and he was the one who was planning to go into the seminary when he finished his undergraduate degree.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      I'm not aware of many IT employees that turn down free alcohol

      In short, it's not many people. There's a few practical declines (designated driver, pregnancy), a few muslims who don't drink out of religious convictions and a few others, but the vast majority of people in all walks of like will have a few free beers or glasses of wine. Not everyone is looking to get drunk on the company's bill though, but there's usually someone who does. They don't all try to flirt, and most do it in a way that's not sexual harassment. But does it happen? Yes, probably.

      The problem is t

      • by sjames (1099)

        There's a good reason the employer is responsible and the club is not. First, some random drunk guy in a club can't threaten employment consequences against women who turn him down. Second (and closely related), the club didn't hire the guy to represent them and then grant him the authority to affect the future employment of the people he harassed.

    • At a previous job, we had a guy in our group who didn't drink, and was always convenient as a designated driver. There are enough techies around who aren't neurotypical or otherwise don't drink because they don't like having their heads messed with, or who don't drink because they had alcoholics in their family and don't want to go there. There are also people who don't drink because they used to be alcoholics, though I ran into that more often with sales people and cops than with techies. Also, when I

  • by ktappe (747125) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @11:24AM (#37275436)

    Negus...has struck back with a £10 million false dismissal suit alleging a culture of drunken parties and claiming that other (Male) management at Microsoft were so drunk they followed a female Microsoft UK manager into the ladies' lavatories.

    So because someone else acted improperly, he thinks it was OK for him to do so too? I hope he gets laughed out of court.

    • Re:No case (Score:5, Informative)

      by LateArthurDent (1403947) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @11:45AM (#37275640)

      Negus...has struck back with a £10 million false dismissal suit alleging a culture of drunken parties and claiming that other (Male) management at Microsoft were so drunk they followed a female Microsoft UK manager into the ladies' lavatories.

      So because someone else acted improperly, he thinks it was OK for him to do so too? I hope he gets laughed out of court.

      Did you miss the part of the article where he denied the accusations against him? Or the one where the investigation turned out no proof of the allegations?

      He's not saying, "everybody else was acting improperly, so it was ok for me to do it." He's saying, "I was acting properly amidst massive impropriety. If anything, they fired me because I wasn't playing along."

      Whether you believe him or not is moot. The question is, can he prove his allegations while Microsoft can't prove theirs? If that's the case, not only should this not be dismissed, but he should win.

      • by Rogerborg (306625)
        In short: the jocks and cheerleaders picked on him for being a nerd. Wow, Microsoft. Wow.
      • If he's high up enough, then what his subordinates do *is* his problem. More likely though he's just a sociopath (like many higher ups in major companies) so he's just lying through his teeth to save credibility for future victims.

        This will continue until he becomes convinced of his own invincibility and cocks it up royally enough to get the attention of the police and thrown in jail.
        • I like how you assumed he's guilty based on mere allegations. Nice. We shall achieve our feminist utopia one day sister, and all men will either grovel at our feel (but not close enough that they may look up our skirts) or hang by their neck from a tree (by not high enough that they can see down our shirts)!
  • Where's Davide Brent? LOL.
  • by jcronen (325664) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @11:32AM (#37275522) Homepage

    They're just trying to achieve the Ballmer peak! http://xkcd.com/323/ [xkcd.com]

  • Unlikely_ look at the products of MICROsoft. No sex in it at all.
  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @11:43AM (#37275622)

    Even though knowing this isn't an uncommon practice at the corporate level it still makes me a little sick to read about the shameless expense fund. The harassment allegations almost seem like a secondary grievance.

  • They are becoming more and more alike. It seems the GNU guys were right all along. Microsoft Church [gnu.org]

  • http://www.reynholm.co.uk/ [reynholm.co.uk]

    Maybe some of you are not familiar with this iconic corporation, but it is well known to have such problems in its offices.

  • So the problem is that we don't know how much Jeagermeister there is? Is there a Jaegermeister Uncertainly Principal?

  • "indefinite amounts of Jaegermeister"

    Isn't Jaeger one of those drinks whose quantity is indefinite more or less by definition? Like absinthe. Or Special Brew...

  • A woman I knew who worked at Microsoft in Brazil was told that her husband couldn't be covered on her health insurance, even though male employees' wives were all covered by their husbands' Microsoft-provided policies. When she started to say that was unfair, she was told to back off. I guess sexism at Microsoft is a worldwide thing.

  • I've just realized what's missing where I work (besided job satisfaction). Vodka fountains and a stock of whiskey.
  • For ages we've wondered why anyone would purchase windows or sign any kind of deal with microsoft. This Explains why: They were drunk.

  • involving at least five separate women. A Microsoft internal investigation was unable to prove the allegations

    Must have been using a Pentium processor to keep track of the allegations.

    The question has to be asked : were sequential, or simultaneous harassments?

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